Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

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“Orion the Hunter, a Yule Song”Lyrics:Orion the Hunter is rising in the sky and underneath the fallen snow the frozen grasses lie. The animals are sleeping safely deep within their dens and people come together to gather with their friends All on Yule, Yule, Yule, All on Yule, Yule, Yule. We gather together all on Yule. The sun has faded slowly ever since its summer's height. We've danced the evening dances for the dimming of the light. And now it's time at last to celebrate the sun's rebirth. The wheel of light is turning, returning to the earth All on Yule, Yule, Yule, All on Yule, Yule, Yule. The wheel of light's returning all on Yule.Music:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3zBovs2t3cby Ceisiwr Serith (David Fickett-Wilbar)
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[If you're using this rite yourself, make sure you've read through it and have necessary sacrifices. Note that I didn't include any sacrifices or offerings, because I think it's best if you choose how much or how little to offer. This entire rite can be done without a single offering, but, as Ceisiwr Serith says, "When we come before the gods, it is wise not to come empty-handed." You will need a few things for the rite: a representation of a tree, three votive candles (in holders), a vessel of water of some kind, something to drink from, and some way to take an omen. Anything else is window-dressing. The Patron of this rite is Sulis, a Gualish sun goddess, so don't be surprised if you find feminine pronouns for the sun. Many prayers (Gatekeeper invocation, song for the return of the sun, and the opening of the Gates, for example) are straight from Ceisiwr Serith's A Book of Pagan Prayer.]The Yule Rite:Enter Sacred Space, stand before the altar.State purpose: "Hail the Sun! Today I welcome you back from the darkness!"Fill the well, Light one of the three candles.Mother Earth invocation: (place hands on the floor/ground)I call out to the Earth MotherYou who support me.You who hold meYou who has birthed me and will once again take me.Earth Mother, in her daily travels, the sun passes through you.Her path has grown longer with each passing daySince the last Solstice, this summer gone.It is in your power to shorten this trailThe lonely one through your tunnels and cavesI ask that you hear your childrenAnd show her the way.Inspiration: (face the fire)Snow and ice have cooled our mindsCold winds have blown away our fertile thoughtsSilent nights have stilled our tonguesLike the bear, the fox, and the toadOur creativity hibernates without the warmth of the sun.Come to us now, Inspiration, as the sun returns!As the sun grows in strengthSo may the fire in our hearts!Purpose restatement: (face altar)"Today, the sun is renewed. The long descent into darkness is ended, the long night is halfway over. I look forward at this time, remembering what I have done, knowing what I will do. I make promises to myself and to the Gods. Most of all, though, I welcome in Sulis, the sun herself, and pray that the increase of her light also show an increase in my blessings. Hail the Sun!"Outdwellers: (face north and hold up your hands)From far to the North do these things come:Cold North Wind, biting and raw.Ice Storms, piercing and painfulSleet, Snow, and Slush, dangerous and underestimatedAlberta Clipper, snowy and feared.Lake Effect Snow, plentiful and inconvenientIn-Laws, We're not home!I name these things at this time, the things I wish to see less of in this season, and I set them aside.Attunement: 2 Powers meditation. You can do the standard one, or you can be a bit creative. As an example, I'm thinking of the Two Powers we all thought about around this time of year: the Naughty and Nice powers.Sacred Center: dip your finger in the well, pass your hand over the flame, and touch the tree. Feel the connection to each of the gates.Gatekeeper invocation: (face the well)Cernunnos, lord, sitter in the doorwayGod of equilibrium, terrible, merciful:You who hold the opposites apart,You in whom all opposites unite,My prayer goes to you to open the passageTo clear the threshold,To make the way clear.Opening the Gates:Open the wayOpen the wayLord CernunnosOpen the way(make an opening triskel over the Well; envision it as a gate to the Underworld)Open the wayOpen the wayLord CernunnosOpen the way(make an opening triskel over the Fire; envision it as a gate to the Upperworld)Open the wayOpen the wayLord CernunnosOpen the way(make an opening triskel over the tree; envision it as the crossroads of the Worlds)Let the Gates be Opened!Ancestors invocation: (face the well)I call out to those who came before meHear me, O ancestors!The sun has traveled through your landsIn an ever-lengthening journey.I ask that you remember the cold winters of your livesRemember the piercing windsRemember the ice and the darkness.Remember that your descendants feel this now.I call out to you, and ask that you join me.Together, let us encourage the sun to return,For she has traveled in your world long,And now it is time for her to travel in mine.Welcome, and thanks to the Ancestors!Nature Spirits invocation: (face the tree or open window)A child of the earth calls out to the spirits of this placeHear me, spirits of nature!Though it is cold outsideAnd many of you sleep beneath the groundOr in nests high above my head,I ask that you hear my voice,And join your call to mineAs I call the sun back to the skiesTo bring her warmth and shining loveFor all of us to feel.Welcome, and thanks to the Nature Spirits!Deities invocation: (face the fire)Your child calls out to you, Elder Gods.Hear me, O deities!The sun has fulfilled her old bargain,She has taken the long roads through the Underworld.She has distanced herself from the lands of the living.She has allowed the cold, the snow, and the iceTo gather about us, as you have declared she should.Now is the time that we may ask for her return.Tonight, we call out to your sense of justice,Your sense of love for us,And ask that you join with us in calling her back.Welcome, and thanks to the Deities!Welcoming of the Kindred: (place hands palms up before your body, smile, and shout)Welcome to my Ancestors, the Nature Spirits, and the Gods!Now, I ask that you join me in my call to the Patroness of this rite!Calling in the Sun: (facing the fire, and especially the two unlit candles)Sulis, Sun Maiden,Bright wheel in the sky!Hear me as I call out to youAnd pray for your safe returnAnd increase this solstice day!Six months ago, I reveled in your heightI sang in the fields as you rose,Strong and proud and full of splendor.Since then, I have watched you lessenUntil the equinox, when you gave summer to the Underworld.Your path has been long and darkBut you have lit the way for soulsWho have long departed this world.You spent time under the earthMoving through tunnels and cavernsEach day longer ones than beforeAnd my ancestors appreciate the light.But now it is time for you to return.You have not forgotten those still livingWho now need your light more than everFor our nights have become too long,Too cold, too quiet.It is right that you should return to us.So, O Sulis, Lady of the Sun,I ask you that you return to us,Bringing with you the warmthWe so desperately need.Find shorter passages through the Underworld;Take the fastest route back to us.Do not leave us to freeze in this cold winter.Sulis, with this candle lit, [light first candle]Find your way through the dark of the Underworld.Sulis, with this candle lit, [light second candle]Find your strength, and remember the old bargains.Sulis, the light of the world has returned!Final sacrifices: (if not making offerings, cut text appropriately)I have made offerings to SulisThe Deities, the Nature Spirits, and my Ancestors.Now, Sulis, I pray you accept my offeringsAnd that you bring the sun back for another bright year.Omen: (Take omen as you usually would. If all omens point to a positive outcome, use the following prayer of praise:)On the rim of the world, She is dancing.In Her bright robe, She is dancing.Young and lovely, She is dancing.Bringer of vision, She is dancing.Dance, Sun Maiden, into the sky,Bringing the day to those who wait for you.Return Flow: (elevate drink of water/wine/mead/etc., and speak)I draw blessing from the cauldron of blessingI pour the mead of inspirationBehold, the holy cup of magic!Into it flows the outpouring of all blessingsThe deities would grant me,And when I partake of the drink of the gods,I am accepting the power to do as I will in the worlds.(drink)Thanks and closing:Now, I close this rite.But first, let me thank those who have offered help:Sulis, for your power, protection, and returning light,I thank you.Deities, for your upholding the bargains,I thank you.Nature Spirits, for adding your voice to mine,I thank you.Ancestors, for giving up the sun and allowing the descent into winter,I thank you.Earth Mother, for showing the sun the proper ways,I thank you.To all the powers who have here aided me,I say again, I thank you.Finally, O Gatekeeper, I thank you, but I ask one final boon.Closing the Gates:Close the wayClose the wayLord CernunnosClose the way(make a Closing triskel over the Well; envision it as a gate to the Underworld)Close the wayClose the wayLord CernunnosClose the way(make a Closing triskel over the Fire; envision it as a gate to the Upperworld)Close the wayClose the wayLord CernunnosClose the way(make a Closing triskel over the tree; envision it as the crossroads of the Worlds)Let the Gates be Closed!Ending the rite: (empty all unused offerings to the earth, or into a bowl for later disposal)I return all I leave unused to the Earth.This rite is ended!The Sun has returned!
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The musical signal will be given to call the folk for the ritual.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 Dolmen.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 Dolmen.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 will state the ritual purpose and historical precedent.See Yggdrasill, the cosmic tree, the axis of the universe that connects the nine realms. 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. D1: Listen to the music of the universe, the music of Saga and draw inspiration into your hearts.The Bard will invoke Saga.A cup is poured for the outdwellers and they are acknowledged.D1: Now gather 'round in ring of eld, at the holy well at Wyrd's mighty seat. Words of might shall we now speak, wary be all who (rl(g lay! First to the high ones the horn we shall raise, then to the elder kin the old heroes gone. The third round to wish our wills all speak, we may say what whets then our hearts.Three rounds of toasting and boasting commenceThe godsThe deadOpenD1: Now words are writ in Wyrd's mighty brune, Hail to all who have heard! Wend now our way we shall to all homes, Free shall we fare in frith, wise shall we fare on our ways, holy fare we to our holds.
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Souling Song A soul, a soul, a soul cake Please, good lady, a soul cake An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry Any good thing to make us all merry One for Peter, two for Paul Three for Those who made us allGods bless the master of this house, the mistress also And all the little children who around your table grow Likewise your men and maidens, your cattle and your store And all that dwells within your gates we wish you ten times moreThe lanes are very dirty and my shoes are very thin I've got a little pocket I can put a penny in If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do If you haven't got a ha' penny, then Gods bless you Barring of the Door It fell upon the Winter Nights time And a gay time it was then, oh When our goodwife got puddings to make And she's boiled them in the pan, oh.The wind so cold blew south and north And blew into the floor, oh Quoth our goodman to our goodwife Get up and bar the door, ohMy hand is in my hussyfskap Goodman, as you may see, oh If it shall never be barred this hundred year It will ne'er be barred by me, ohThey made the pact betwixt them twa They made it firm and sure, oh That the first that ever a word should speak Should rise and bar the door, ohThen by there came two gentlemen At twelve o'clock at night, oh And they could neither see house nor hall Nor coal nor candle light, ohNow whether is this a rich man's house Or whether it is a poor, oh But never a word has one of them spoke For the barring of the door, ohSo first they ate the white puddings And then they ate the black, oh Though muckle thought the goodwife to herself Yet ne'er a word she spoke, ohThen said the one unto the other Here man, take ye my knife, oh Do ye take off the old man's beard And I'll kiss the goodwife, ohBut there's no water in the house And what shall we do then, oh What ails ye at the pudding brew That boils into the pan, ohOh, up then started our goodman And an angry man was he, oh "Will ye kiss my wife before my eyes And scald me with pudding brew, oh"Then up and started our goodwife Gave three skips upon the floor, oh "Goodman ye spoke the foremost word Ye must rise and bar the door, oh"
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Dieses, also known as Winter Nights, All Hallows or "Samhain", is generally celebrated in late October. As with the Celtic Samhain, a central focus of rituals during this time is honoring one's ancestors and any other dead special to the worshipers (e.g., passed friends, ancient heroes, etc.).The term Dieses relates to the Norse Disir, who are the collection of one's female ancestors going back to ancient times. The Disir are helpful spirits who try to guide the living (their descendants) to making wise choices while in Midgard (Earth, this realm).DiesesWinter Night Songs
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In World Tree did our 1997 Yule rite unscripted, so I can't really post the full ritual here, but as I led the ritual I thought I'd post the main invocations (which I did write down beforehand) for anyone's future reference or use. They were to Ullr (the "shield god" - pronounced "ool") and Skadhi (wife of Njord, daughter of a giant - pronounced "SKAH-dee") of the Norse pantheon, and the invocations are below.UllrUllr, great huntsman and master of the bow, Sif's son and Snowshoe-Aesir, We ask you O Glory of Winter to join with us on this dark night, For the frost is thick and the cold is chilling to the bone. O mighty shield-god, fair of face and fight, As the darkness covers the fields and the folk, We pray that you share your strength with us, That your skiff should shield us from harm, And that your shining light should fill the hall the and folk again.SkadhiSkadhi, great huntress and serpent-hanger, Njord's husband and snowshoe-goddess, We ask you O Shining Bride of the Gods to join with us on this night of darkness, For the winds are wailing and the wolves are howling in the hills. O mighty winter-goddess, woman of the wild, As the darkness covers the fields and the folk, We pray that you share your strength with us, That you guide us in our goings and doings, And that you bring the light of your wisdom to fill the hall and the folk again.
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TorchWandHorn (use two if available) (if two horns are not available, use one horn and a chalice)Offering BowlMeadAleHerbsEarth Mother - GrainOutdwellers - AleLandvettir - Ale or MeadAlfar & Disir - Ale or MeadAesir & Vanir - Ale or MeadUllr - OilSkadhi - OilPre Ritual Briefing/Claiming & Saining Processional Sounding - blow hornHammer Rite A priest/ess goes to the four quarters and makes the Hammer sign saying:Hammer in the (whichever direction you are in), hallow and hold this holy stead,: (then goes to the center and makes the sign overhead saying): Hammer above us, hallow and hold this holy stead.: (then towards the ground, make sign and say): Hammer below us, hallow and hold this holy stead. WelcomeWelcome to all who come to keep the Old Ways. Earth Mother(an offering of grain is made to the offering bowl, saying)We give this gift to you Mother Nerthus, springing forth this day. Look kindly on our work, Berchta, beldame of the wheel, Spin us good wyrd this day. O Mighty Mother of us all, Pray, fill our house with joy. Hail Nerthus, accept our sacrifice. All: Hail Nerthus, accept our sacrifice. Invocation to OdinSeer:Odin the One-Eyed, Rune Lord of Wisdom. Hear as we hail you Honor our working, Waken our word skill Quicken our Magic Skald speech be in us By your blessing, Odin  OutdwellersHear me all you wights unhallowed, Etins, trolls and all the Out-garth Ravers, enemies of Asgard, Here we give you proper honor. Take this gift, here freely given, Trouble not our holy working, For our hall is well warded By the Redbeard's mighty-hammer Consecration of Space and Participants (purification with water, air and fire. Purify the area and participants with sacred water. Another will follow with the torch or lantern (fire)) I charge thee all in the North In the name of Tyr To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the East In the name of Freya To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the South In the name of Thor To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the West In the name of Idunn To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.(fire tender walk the outer area with the lantern)Our kin, our homeland and our ritual space are purified with fire, air and water. Hailsa! All: Hailsa! Meditation Triads: Fire, Well and TreeWell: (stand before the well)Let these Waters become the well of Mimir. Grant us wisdom and keep ill away. May it's cleansing powers be here to stay.Tree: (stand before the tree)Let this tree become the ash Yggdrasill. From the depths and heights spans the world tree.Fire: (stand before the fire)Let this fire become Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. May it's sacred fire light our way. May blessing and wisdom grow each day. Statement of PurposeWe gather here on the Feast of Yule, the Beginning of the Sacred Year, the Time of Turning. Our larders hold what gain we have reaped from our labors.While we notice now the long darkness in which we spend many hours, in the Scandinavian countries the darkness is more absolute. Such a desolate time inspires feasting and the celebration of light. Evergreen trees and holly, which remain green throughout the long nights and bitter cold, are a promise that life is not fled, but will return to the land and bounty return to the folk.On this day we honor all the Aesir - Gods and Goddesses of the Folk - and Ullr and Skadhi.Yule is the most holy of the Germanic Feasts and shares many of the functions and connotations of the Celtic Samhain Feast. The Gods and Goddesses are closer at this time as are the Dead, Trolls, Ettins, Wights and other magical and mysterious beings. Yule is a time to recognize boundaries, between future and past, ours and theirs, realized and unrealized. Oaths for the coming year are particularly appropriate at this time. Open the Gates (hold wand up to the tree with both hands and while invoking the gatekeeper, slowly bring arms apart keeping wand in right hand and visualizing the gates opening.)Ritual Leader:Wondrous Heimdall, watchman of the Gods, Rider of the mighty horse Gulltop, We ask thee to open the gates so that we may cross the rainbow bridge By thy will, let the gates be opened!!All: Let the gates be opened!!Kindred Offerings Landvettir: (the horn is filled with ale or mead and elevated saying)To all those who dwell in this land, we give honor. Kindreds of soil, of the waters, of the sky, clans of tree and herb, of stone and stream and lake, tribes of bird and beast and creeping things, you we remember with honor as we drink. We ask the spirit of the land to join us at our fire and feast, that all wights of good will may be blessed.(Horn is passed as all sing a chant to the Nature Spirits, when done, the remnants are poured into the Offer Bowl saying)Let all the Earth and Sea and Sky receive with us the blessing of Eostre! Hail Landvettir, accept our sacrifice!All: Hail Landvettir, accept our sacrifice!Alfar and Disir: (horn is filled with mead or ale and elevated)Alfar we honor Great men and fathers Who in their highday Heroes were reckoned Likewise the Disir Great and good women Mothers, grandmothers, Peace-weavers, wise ones Ancestors aid us, Hear as we hail you Offerings we pour to you In honor and love(horn is passed while all sing Mothers and Fathers of Old, when done, the remnants are poured into the offering bowl saying)Hail to the Alfs, all ringed round us, the fathers of the folk Hail to the Dises, all ringed round us, the mothers of our might. Hail to our kin, in the hidden lands, Hail the Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!All: Hail the Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!Aesir & Vanir: (horn is filled with mead or ale and elevated)We call to the Aesir and Vanir. Hear us eldest and brightest. To all you shining and deep ones, Wisest and mightiest, Cunning and fair, loving and comforting, gods and goddesses,(horn is passed while singing Hail all the Gods, when done, remnants are poured into the offering bowl saying)So, High Ones, We call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, Aesir and Vanir Meet us at the boundary Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Hail Deities, accept our sacrifice!All: Hail Deities, accept our sacrifice! Key OfferingsSkadhi (skah-dee): (oil to fire)Skadhi, great huntress and serpent-hanger, Njord's husband and snowshoe-goddess, We ask you O Shining Bride of the Gods to join with us on this night of darkness, For the winds are wailing and the wolves are howling in the hills. O mighty winter-goddess, woman of the wild, As the darkness covers the fields and the folk, We pray that you share your strength with us, That you guide us in our goings and doings, And that you bring the light of your wisdom to fill the hall and the Folk again.All: Hail Skadhi! Accept our sacrifice!Ullr (ool): (oil to fire)Ullr, great huntsman and master of the bow, Sif's son and Snowshoe-Aesir, We ask you O Glory of Winter to join with us on this dark night, For the frost is thick and the cold is chilling to the bone. O mighty shield-god, fair of face and fight, As the darkness covers the fields and the folk, We pray that you share your strength us, That your skiff should shield us from harm, And that your shining light fill the hall the and Folk again. All: Hail Ullr! Accept our sacrifice! The Omen(stand before the tree holding runes up high)Seer:Hail Odin, Lord of the Shining Ones Thou who knowest the runes of wisdom. Grant me thy insight so that I may interpret thy ancient words(cast runes)This is our past This is our present This is our future.(interpret the meaning of each rune) The Blessing(Fill vessels with water and mead while saying)Now let the birth might of Ullr and the joy of Skadhi, the Aesir & Vanir, of Alfar and Disir, and all goodly wights, shine in this blessing. We pray as your people, Hallow these waters O mighty and shining Offering we've given Pray gift us in turn Behold the Waters of Life!All: Behold the Waters of Life! (cups are passed while singing) Final Blessing (recenter folk)Ritual Leader:Now let us rest in silence, with the Power of the Between in us, and know the blessing as it manifests itself in our lives(silence for a time) Personal work if any ClosingRitual Leader:We have been blessed by Ullr & Skadhi, offerings we have given, Blessings we have received by the Landvettir, Alfar and Disir, Aesire and Vanir. But now it is time to return to our common world, to continue our holy feast here in our hall in our mortal realm. Always remembering, that we mirror the halls of the holy ones, when our love for them is in our hearts and our bellies are full of their blessing. With joy in our hearts, let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the powers, they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship. So now as we prepare to depart, let us give thanks to those who have aided us.(with each, pick up offering bowl and hold high)Ullr & Skadhi:We thank thee Ullr and Skadhi for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace Aesir & Vanir:We thank thee Aesir and Vanir for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace Alfar & Disir:We thank thee Alfar and Disir for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peaceAll: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace. Landvetir:We thank thee Landvetir for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace. Ritual Leader:We thank all those powers who have aided us. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace. (renew the center) Closing GatesWell:Let this well once again be waterTree:Let this World Tree be as it wasFire:Let this rainbow bridge once again be fire.Ritual Leader:Let all be as it once was.Ritual Leader: (hold hands to the side with wand in one)Wondrous Heimdall, watchman of the Gods. We thank thee for thy divine assistance. We ask thee to now close the gates between the worlds.(slowly raise hand and wand together visualizing the gates closing. Stop when hand meets wand directly in front of tree)In Unison:Let the gates be closed!All: Let the gates be closed! Ritual Leader:Hail Nerthus our Earth Mother, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Hail Nerthus!All: Hail Nerthus! Announcement of the EndRitual Leader:Children of the Mother People of the old and ancient ways Friends of this rite May the sacred presence's remain within you always. Until we meet again. We wish your all peace, love and bright blessings. This rite is ended.
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Being one with Nerthus (our Earth Mother) is always the focus of our rite. At Yule we not only honor our connection with Her through the traditions of our Ancestors but we acknowledge all four seasons. The Yule ritual lasts for 24 hours, which is not much of a sacrifice for those who worship the Norse pantheons. Remember in ritual to do what feels right for you. Trust your heart, your inner guides and your deities.We gather in the morning to assemble our wreaths. They are to be made from pine branches (found, not cut), ivy branches, holly berry sprigs, ribbon and cranberries. We decorate our area with pine and mistletoe and light incense. It is a long time tradition to adorn the doorways with pine boughs as a token of welcome or friendship.We set up our altar that will include four pillar candles representing the four seasons:Yellow - SummerRed - FallWhite - WinterGreen - SpringWe light the yellow, red and white candles.12:00 Noon·        BRIEFINGWe explain our ritual to the newcomers of our gathering. We set the tone, direction and give instructions. This is the time when we practice our songs so that everyone can participate.·        CLEARCUT BEGINNINGBegin Processional Sounding – HornProcessionalThe processional is lead by the Godi or Godia to the area, which we are to make sacred. Tradition has it that the worshippers circle the area clockwise three times. The procession is usually accompanied by singing.Ring bell three timesOpening prayerAs we do honor theeMay thou also honor us.And our bonding together be sealedFor ourselves, our folk and our lands.So be it! ·        CONSECRATION OF SPACE AND PARTICIPANTSPurify area and Participants with Water, Air, and FireChieftain of the grove smudges all participants, starting with Godia and Godi and asks, "Why are you here?"Godia enters sacred space with sensor and purifies the area with sacred air. She takes up the caldron and splurges the area and participants with sacred water.This caldron contains sacred waterPure, cooling, fresh and cleansingBlessed many times by our DeitiesIn the rites we have been attendingI charge thee all in the NorthIn the name of TyrTo wash away that which doesstain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the EastIn the name of FreyaTo wash away that which doesstain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the SouthIn the name of ThorTo wash away that which doesstain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the WestIn the name of IdunnTo wash away that which doesstain the soul, the spirit, and the land.Fire tender or Godi walks the outer area with the lantern and then lights the Yule log saved from last year’s celebration.Our Kin, our homeland and our ritual space are purified with fire, air and water. So mote it be!(All say So mote it be!)Honor the Norse Divine TriadNerthus is the Earth Mother. She is the foundation for our existence and our connection to the land. We honor her and light her multi-colored candle.Hail Earth Mother, Protector of the LandWe give honor to thee and ask thee tojoin us now with thy cherishing embraceAccept this offering of milk as our gift to you.Nerthus, accept this offering! (All say Nerthus, accept this offering!)Odin is honored as the All Father of the Gods. He is sometimes known as the Sky-Cloaked Wanderer or Grey Wanderer. Odin is the ruler of Asgard, most powerful and wise. We honor Odin by acknowledging him and lighting his red candle.Odin the wise and great one of Valhalla,We give honor to thee and ask thee tojoin us now with thy strength and wisdom.Accept this offering of mead as our gift to you.Odin, accept this offering! (All say Odin, accept this offering!)We honor Frigg as the All Mother of the Gods. She is the matron of households and families. Chief of the Asynjur and wife to Odin, Frigg is the foundation of the home. We honor Her by acknowledging and lighting her white candle.All Mother Frigg, weaver of the clouds,We give honor to thee and ask thee tojoin us now with thy blessings and love.Accept this offering of flowers as our gift to you.Frigg, accept this offering! (All say Frigg, accept this offering!)The candles represent the God and Goddess triad in our lives. When the candles are lit, we are reminded that they are with us and shall remain so even when the candles have been extinguished.Honor SongWe honor the God and Goddess triad in song and praise. It is important to remember that although only one-person steps forward in praise and lights the candle; we are all acknowledging the Shining Ones. We remember that they are always here blessings and inspiring us.Offering to the OutsidersThe warrior or chieftain of the group steps up and with sword in hand says:To the non-believers and dwellers of the outerdark, we ask thee to accept this offering (of sacred oils) and to leave us to do our work in peace. We are respectful of thee so let it be so else I will draw my sword in defense of my folk. So be it! (All say So be it!)We begin our Feast to honor the summer season. We will serve hotdogs, veggie and hamburgers, salads, fruits, ice teas, soda, cold chicken and fruit juice. After the meal, we snuff the yellow candle.Some will go on a nature walk in the woods to find items for decorating the tree. Others will stay and decorate Yule logs with cinnamon sticks, incense, and essential oils or perhaps carve them with runes. We will keep the Yule logs burning for the entire event just as our ancestors did.6:00 PM·        CENTERING AND GROUNDINGRitual prayerWe begin connecting ourselves to the Two Powers of Earth and Sky. We are already connected to the Middle Ground (Midgard), which is our mundane and everyday existence.The World below and Heavens above, The Land on which we stand.The Sea that surrounds. The Skies and the Clouds Our Journey is at hand.MeditationState purpose of the riteAsk for Bardic assistanceBragi, God of poetry and husband of Idunn, I call to thee. Welcomer of the Lords in Valhalla, lend me thy gift of eloquence and skill with words so that all may hear and understand.The Godi or Godia explains the purpose, precedent and historical value of the gathering as it relates to our ancestors. Our grove members will sing a song appropriate for the occasion.Welcome to our Yule celebration. We are gathered here today to honor our patrons, deities, and kinfolk in the old and ancient ways of our ancestors. Let us rejoice in our religious similarities rather than our differences and celebrate our blessings. This is a time for hope and promise. A time to draw within with togetherness and love. The coming months ahead will be cold and dark but our bond of friendship, family and piety will keep us safe and warm. Celebrate the magick, joy and wonder of this season. ·        RECREATE THE COSMOS AND RAISE POWERAffirm the Fire, Well, and TreeBy use of the wand we affirm the universal symbols of the center. The Fire is the Sky, the Well is the Underworld and the Tree Yggdrasil, is the link between the nine Worlds.Let these Waters become the well of Mimir to grant us wisdom and keep ill away. May its cleansing powers be here to stay.Let this tree become the ash Yggdrasil. From the depths and heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow in me.Let this fire become Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge. May its sacred fire light our way. May blessings and wisdom grow each day.Open the GatesWondrous Heimdall, watchman of the Gods,Rider of the mighty horse Gulltop,We ask thee to open the gates so that we may cross the Rainbow Bridge!By thy will, let the gates be opened!(All say Let the gates be open!)·        INVOCATIONInvocation SongKindred: Nature Spirits, Ancestors and DeitiesNature Spirits - Birds, beasts, magickal creatures, soil, stone, wind and water.Pick up bowl of sacred soil and hold high.With this soil, we honor the Nature Spirits.Spirits of the Land, aid us as we aid thee.Accept this offering of nuts and berries as our gift to thee.Nature Spirits, join our rite!(All say, Nature Spirits, join our rite!)Song for the Nature SpiritsAncient Ones - These are the dead not just those who are related to us but also those who are in our hearts whom we hold dear.Pick up bowl of salt water and hold high.Old ones and ancestors we honor thee with this saltwater.Remember us always as we remember thee.Accept this offering of shells, crystals or silver as our gift to thee.Ancestors, join our rite!(All say, Ancestors, join our rite!)Song to honor our AncestorsGods and Goddesses - Eldest Children of the Mother – the strongest, wisest, brightest.Pick up bowl of incense and feather. Hold high.Oh Great Ones of Asgard, we honor thee with this sacred air.Remain within us as we remain with thee.Accept this offering of sacred incense as our gift to thee.Deities, join our rite!(All say Deities, join our rite!)Song for the Deities·        MAJOR SENDING OF POWERS TO THE DIETIESOfferings to Matron/Patron power of riteOur patron of the rite is Baldr, second son of Odin and Frigg. He is the brightest, most beautiful and gentle. Even with his death foretold, it could not be prevented but he rose again after Ragnarok as the new king of the Gods.Hail Baldr! (All say Hail Baldr!)Praise offeringsThis is when we give praises to those whose blessings we have received. This can be in the form of a song, poem, something grown, something made or anything that is considered sacrifice.Offerings can be made to the Patron of the rite, other deities or kindred.Final OfferingOh Noble ones accept this offering as a token of our sacrifice to thee. Hail ye Gods and Goddesses(All say Hail ye Gods and Goddesses)In celebration of Fall, we will feast on corn, potatoes, baked breads, pies, nuts, apples, cider and mead. After the feast, we snuff the red candle.Folks now begin decorating the tree that represents the ash Yggdrasil. The star on the top is the North Star. Figures next to the star will be an eagle and a hawk (Vedrfölnir). Somewhere in the middle of the tree among the apples, feathers, popcorn and cranberry strands and nuts will be a squirrel (Ratatosk). Beneath the tree will be a bowl of water (Mimir’s well of wisdom), crystals (representing the frost giants) and figures of our Deities. There will be four stags Dáin, Dvalin, Dúneyr and Durathrór. Nidhögg, the serpent will be under the tree blanket. Finishing the tree will be rainbow colored strains of ribbon for Bifrost.Bardic circle begins with singing, music and stories of lore.12:00 MidnightCast for Omen of ReturnHail Odin, Lord of the Shining Ones.Thou who knowest the runes of wisdom.Grant me thy insight so that I may interpret thy ancient words. Cast three runes:This is our past.This rune is our present.This rune is our future.Interpret the meaning of each rune.·        RECEIVING RETURNED POWERMeditation upon group needsThe celebrants meditate upon the blessings for their own needs and those of their community.Let us think upon this omen to seek and understand what blessings the High Ones offer in return for our sacrifices. Think in terms of group, community, and your own individual needs.Waters of LifeGodi pours mead from decanter into horn on left.Godia pours pure water from pitcher into horn onthe right. Hold them up towards the tree.Godia - We call upon the Great Ones to bless these waters as we have blessed thee.Godi - Behold the Waters of Life!(All say the Waters of Life!)Godi says: In this horn is the mead of inspiration. Behold the Waters of Life.Hands horn to Godia who drinks and hands back to Godi who drinks.Godia says: In this horn is water of wisdom. Behold the Waters of Life.Hands horn to Godi who drinks and hands back to Godia who drinks.Godia - Drink from either or both or pour onto the earth. Remember when we drink with the Gods, we share in their blessings.Hand horns to each participant starting with the mead and following with water saying:The Waters of Life!All magickal workings are done at this time.Candle Magick - Magick & pursuit of intentionIf there are any among you that have special needs or a request for yourself or a loved one, please say (either aloud or silently) a prayer as you light one of the white votive on the center altar. May the light be your torch that shines through to the Gods and Goddesses. Let us begin the Special Needs Chant. Together we pray to Gods and Goddesses for their assistance. Special Needs ChantHail Asynjur hear our prayer, Send thy gifts of loving care.Thor the mighty, Odin the Wise,Joined as one our strength will rise.Continue the chant until each person has had a turn to light a candle and speak his or her wishes. The candles are then placed outside left to burn out at will.It is now winter and we partake of hot stews, eggnog, plum pudding, chestnuts, preserves, cocoa and ale.We snuff the white candle plunging us (except for the burning Yule logs) into total darkness. There should be a few moments of silence to meditate on how our ancestors’ lives were so influenced by the darkness and cold and how anxious they were on the promise of spring.6:00 AM ·        ENDING THE CEREMONYEnd Meditation Once again we center and ground ourselves.Thank Matron/Patron of the RiteWe thank thee Baldr for thy blessings, thy love, and thy gifts.We honor thee and bid thee peace. (All say We bid thee peace)Thank the KindredsNature SpiritsPick up bowl of sacred soil and hold high.Spirits of the Land, we thank thee for thy aid and blessings.We honor thee and bid thee Go in Peace. (All say Go in Peace)AncientsPick up bowl with salt water and hold high.Old Ones and Ancestors, we thank thee for thy aid and blessings.We honor thee and bid thee Go in Peace. (All say Go in Peace)Gods and GoddessesPick up bowl with incense and hold high.Oh Great and Shining Ones, we thank thee for thy aid and blessings.We honor thee and bid thee Go in Peace. (All say Go in Peace)Close the GatesLet this well once again be water. Let this World Tree be as it was. Let this rainbow bridge once again be fire. Let all be as it once was.Wondrous Heimdall, watchman of the Gods. We thank thee for thy divine assistance. We ask thee to now close the gates between the worlds. By thy will, let the gates be closed.(All say Let the gates be closed)We thank the Divine Triad.Thank NerthusHail Nerthus our Earth MotherWe praise thee and thank thee for thy cherishing embrace.Wir danken Ihnen.(All say Wir danken Ihnen!)Snuff out multi candle.Thank FriggAll Mother and Weaver of the Clouds,We praise thee and thank thee for thy love.Wir danken Ihnen.(All say Wir danken Ihnen!)Snuff out white candle.Thank OdinOdin the Wise and Great One of Valhalla,We praise thee and thank thee for thy wisdom.Wir danken Ihnen.(All say Wir danken Ihnen!)Snuff out red candle.SongRelease of excessive energy that we return to the land.Grove giftsRemembrance gifts of the rite or for individuals home altar. This is the time to exchange Yule gifts.Announcement of the endChildren of the Mother, People of the old and ancient ways, Friends of this rite,May the sacred presence remain within you always. Until we meet again we wish you all peace, love, and bright blessings.This Rite is EndedWalk with wisdom!Ring bell three timesSignal of the end and that the rite is ended. We now light the green candle representing the promise of spring. This candle is left lit until departure. Yule log is saved for next year’s celebration.We all walk outside to watch the sunrise. Our morning feast will be strawberry pancakes, ham, eggs, asparagus, herbal teas and champagne.Have a wondrously magickal Yule celebration and season. Be safe, healthy, caring and loving to yourself and those around you. Walk with wisdom!
Ritual Category: 
 The hall is set as a feasting-hall, with places for all to sit around the perimeter. At the north is the harrow, bearing the Yule-log, images of the Deities, the Horn and the Blessing Bowl, with a sprig for sprinkling, and the offerings. In the center is the Tree, decorated with pine boughs. At it's base are the Fire and the Well, with an Offering Bowl to receive libations. At the two sides of the harrow are the tables holding the feast. ·         Pre Ritual Briefing/Claiming & Saining - See Appendice 1·         GROVE ATTUNEMENT - See Appendice 2·         PROCESSIONAL: Song: Here We Come A'Wassailing Chorus:Now is winter time strangers travel far and near,and we wish you, send you a happy new year. ·         OPENING PRAYERSWelcome to all who come to keep the Old Ways. We are here to honor the Gods, to keep the feast of Yule. Let us begin by remembering the Mother of All.A: Earth Mother: An offering of Grain is made to the offering bowl, saying:Hallowed Woman of the EarthWe give this gift to youFrau Holda, riding forth this night,Look kindly on our work,Berchta, beldame of the wheel,Spin us good wyrd tonightO Mighty Mother of us allPray, fill our house with joy! B: Invocation to Odin - Spirit of Bardic Inspiration:Odin the One-Eyed - Rune-Lord of Wisdom - Hear as we hail you - Honor our working. - Waken our word-skill - Quicken our magic - Skald-speech be in us - By your great Blessing, -- Odin. C: Outdwellers: An offering is made to the south of the Grove, saying:Hear me all you wights unhallowed,Etins, trolls and all the Out-garth,Ravers, enemies of Asgard,Here we give you proper honor.Take this gift, here freely given,Trouble not our holy working,For our hall will be well-warded,By the Redbeard's mighty hammer. D: Purification - Fire and Water: Druids draw water from the Well and light a censer from the Fire. They quickly cense and asperge the company, while the company intones or chants. ·         TRIADS: Fire, Well & Tree Silver is offered to the Well, Oil to the Fire, and Incense and Water to the Bile as the Company sings the Portal Song:ChorusBy Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky,We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,Come we now to the Well, together we sing:ChorusWe will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.ChorusGather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.Chorus Hammer RiteA priest/ess goes to the four quarters and makes the Hammer sign, saying:Hammer in the (East), hallow and hold this holy stead.then goes to the center and makes the sign overhead saying:Hammer above us, hallow and hold this holy stead.and then toward the ground, saying:Hammer below us, hallow and hold this holy stead. ·         STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND PRECEDENT We gather here on the Feast of Yule, the Beginning of the Sacred Year, the Time of Turning. Our larders hold what gain we have reaped from our labors.While we notice now the long darkness in which we spend many hours, in the Scandinavian countries the darkness is more absolute. Such a desolate time inspires feasting and the celebration of light. Evergreen trees and holly, which remain green throughout the long nights and bitter cold, are a promise that life is not fled, but will return to the land and bounty return to the folk.On this day we honor all the Aesir - Gods and Goddesses of the Folk - and Frey and Freya. While not originally of the Aesir, Frey, (whose name means "Lord") and Freya (whose name means "Lady") offered to dwell with the Aesir to seal a peace treaty between them and the Vanir, the Gods of the common people and of the Earth.Yule is the most holy of the Germanic Feasts and shares many of the functions and connotations of the Celtic Samhain Feast. The Gods and Goddesses are closer at this time as are the Dead, Trolls, Ettins, Wights and other magical and mysterious beings. Yule is a time to recognize boundaries, between future and past, ours and theirs, realized and unrealized. Oaths for the coming year are particularly appropriate at this time.On this day, we take joy in our Tribe, and sing the Yule carols to drive the cold winter away from our hearts! Now let us open the Ways Between... ·         OPENING THE GATES: Oil is poured onto the fire, saying:Warder of Asgard, Heimdall we hail you, Keen-eared and sharp-eyed, biding on Bifrost, Gjallerhorn's holder - to you we offer, Son of Nine Mothers, by Fire and by Water Watch us and ward us, we work the Old Ways, Aid us now, royal one, hold open the gates! Now we bid Bifrost be here among us Descend from dwelling of Gods, bright Asgard A rainbow of light from all ways flowing Carry our calling to all the Aesir By Nine Flames shining, By Waters flowing By Heimdall's magic Gates now be open! KINDRED OFFERINGSThe druids make proper offerings to each of the kindreds, standing at the fire.Offering to the Landvettir. The Horn is filled with Cider and elevated, saying:To all those who dwell in this land we give honor. Kindreds of the soil, of the waters, of the sky; clans of tree and herb, of stone and stream and lake; tribes of bird and beast and creeping things; you we remember with honor as we drink. In the season of the sleeping earth we ask the spirits of the land to loin us at our fire and feast, that all wights of good will may be blessed.The Horn is passed as all sing a chant to the Nature Spirits. When this is done the remnant of the Horn is poured into the Offering Bowl, saying:Let all the earth and sea and sky receive with us the blessing of Yule!Landvettir, accept our sacrifice! Offering to the Alfar and Disir.Alfar we honor - Great men and Fathers, Who in their highday - Heros were reckoned, Likewise the Disir - Great and good women - Mothers, grandmothers, Peace-weavers, wise ones - Ancestors aid us, Hear as we hail you - Drink we this draught now, In honor and loveThe Horn is passed as the folk sing (Mothers and Fathers of Old).When it returns to the harrow the remnant is given, saying:Hail to the Alfs, all ringed round us, the Fathers of the folk.Hail to the Dises, all ringed round us, the Mothers of our might.Hail to our kin, in the hidden lands, Hail the ancestors on this holy Yule! Offering to the Aesir & VanirThe children of earth call out to the Aesir and Vanir. Hear us, eldest and brightest.To all you shining and deep ones, wisest and mightiest, cunning and fair, loving and comforting, gods and goddesses, we offer you welcome.To the gods and goddesses of this place, ancient and powerful, known to us or unknown, gods of this place, we offer you welcome.To all the deities of those here gathered, you whom we worship, you who bless our lives, o patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome.So, High ones, we call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, Aesir and Vanir; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Deities, accept our sacrifice!(An offering of scented oil is poured on the fire as the cup is passed and the folk sing: Hail all the Gods!) Offering is made to the whole company of the Aesir, as well as Frey and Freya, using such poetry as the folk have in them. A Yule log is prepared with 9 candles which are lit as each Deity is honored.We now make special offering to the Aesir...Thor Loki Odin Tyr Heimdall Frigga Idunn Frey Freya KEY OFFERINGSDescriptive Invocations of Frey and Freya... The Descent to Darkness:Sunna sinks down into the dark sea,Wolf and wind howl outside the wallsNow winter shakes out her snowy bedNow are life-fires hid in yew-nightOdin's grey steed leads ghosts on the windTrolls fare from cliff-halls the etins are risenWell are we warded who watch this nightBy Fire and Water by Thor's great strength.As this proceeds, the lights in the hall are extinguished, until only the Fire and Heimdall's candle are lit. (The Priest/ess may add other trance induction if desired, in each stage of this work.) The Praise Offerings are given in the darkness, Now Sunna stands in her lowest stead - Lost is all light.-.sleeping all lifeThe frost-cold wights hold icy ruleWe hail the might - That howls now from the northOdin, from Yew-Dales at Yuletide haring, Shield-God, ward uswith thy strong bowSkadi the Giantess skis from the north - Huntress, give us your holy redeFreya's might hold us here in our hall - Golden Frey's might hold us in frithAll of ye Gods and Goddesses highFrom darkness we hail youfrom dragon-deep root - Lead us through darkness - through all dire dooms. THE OMENThe runes are cast to determine the wyrd of the folk saying:Wisdom risingfrom Well's deep roots, Runes of might roar in our minds Up from the bairn-stock's eldest roots Odin give answer reveal the Gods' wills. THE BLESSING:Children of the Earth, in this season of darkness and potential, you are offered a boon! Choose now, and hold this prayer of manifestation of the returning light in your mind and heart as we draw at last, the Blessing. Let none drink of this vessel holding ill will to any here in their hearts! Let this be the cup of health, peace and fellowship! Hallowing the WatersBy Aesir and AlfarAnd Dises mightyBy Thunar's strong strikingAnd Freya's Hearth-fire We seek the shiningOf Yule-morning's magicSunna we call youCome forth from the nightBear to us blessingOf spring and then summerShine on our landIn our homes, in our hearts Increase and bountyBe ours and our kindred'sRising light, welcomewe hail your returning. The Blessing BowlA bowl of water is lifted and the Hammer sign is made over it, saying:Now let the weal-might of Woden and Frigga of Tir and all Aesir Of Alfar and Disir And all goodly wights Shine in this Blessing We pray as your people Hallow these Waters O mighty and shining Offering we've given Pray gift us in turn Behold the Waters of Life!The cup is passed in the usual way, perhaps singing(Blessing Song):Pour the waters, raise the cup, drink your share of wisdom deep,Strength and love now fill us up, as the Elder Ways we keep. Final Blessing: Priest/ess leads a recentering and focuses on the presence of the Blessing in the souls of the worshippers. She says: Now let us rest in silence, with the Power of the Between in us, and know the blessing as it manifests itself in our lives...(Silence, for a time) Works (if any) are brought before the Grove CLOSINGWhen all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:We have been blessed by the Aesir, by Frey and Freya, offering we have given and Blessings we have received by the Landvettir, Alfar and Disir, Gods and Goddesses, But now it is time to return to our common world, to continue our holy feast here in our hall in our mortal realm, always remembering that we mirror the halls of the holy ones when our love for them is in our hearts and our bellies are full of their Blessing! With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work.Each time we offer to the powers they be come stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship.So now as we prepare to depart let us give thanks to those who have aided us. O Frey and Freya,All: We thank you!O Aesir!All: We thank you!O Alfar and Disir, Blessed Ancestors!All: We thank you!O Landvettir, spirits of nature and this place!All: We thank you!To all those powers that have aided us, we say again...All: We thank you! Druids renew the company's centering once more:Finally, see the receding mist fade completely away, the Well, Fire and Tree becoming the common tools they were before, and remember that while our grove fades, the vision and memories of our rite are there always for you to use, and to carry with you in our common world. The druids go to the center, bearing the wand. They speak:O Heimdall, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, your guiding and guarding we say...All: We thank you!Druid makes the closing sign over the hallows with the wand, saying:Now by the keeper of gates and by our magic we end what we began. Now let the fire be flameLet the well be water;Let all be as it was before.Let the gates be closed!All: Let the gates be closed! Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is given to the earth, saying:Mother of all, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite.All: We thank you!Go now, children of the earth, in peace and blessings. The rite is ended!The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the Grove.
Ritual Category: 
First published in OAK LEAVES, Yule 1999 - No. 12For the last decade my family has celebrated Winter Solstice with many of our friends. The following ritual was designed to incorporate elements of our Grove and our household culture. The ritual borrows its structural elements from ADF while pulling many of its descriptive passages from extant sagas and our family tradition. It also pulls from my general knowledge of ritual customs and IndoEuropean and classical mythology. The ritual is oriented towards social rather than, psychological effect. PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS:The ritual site is arranged with a fire circle as the center. The well is sunk into the ground to the west and space is allotted for the tree in the east. Torches mark the cardinal points. Fuel wood is stacked to the south and the processional enters from a gate in the north‑east of the circle. Sacrificial items and the torch for the joining of the fire and water are placed on the stones around the fire circle. Each participant carries a sprig of rosemary in the procession. All lights are extinguished until the lighting of the fire. ADDITIONAL PROPS:HornAleFlourWhiskeySacred oilRosemary branchA jug of waterEvergreen treeBasket of tree ornamentsA bowl of nutsAncestral recipeBrandyBread or fruitRunesBlessing cup Beginning signal:A horn is blown three times to signal the beginning of the ritual. Introductory prayer (Note 1):Druid 1:By earth, by sky, by sea, In the sight of spirits, ancestors, shining gods, and mortal men Let our words and deeds proclaim the ancient way. Let this rite begin! Processional:Participants proceed to the fire, circling around deosil.Druid 1 and Druid 3:As we approach the sacred grove With heart and mind, flesh. and bone, join us now in ways of old. We have come home. Statement of purpose and precedent:Druid 2:The Sun has withered and grown weak His strength is waning and we who are Dependent on his light and warmth, Wait and watch in the Wolf's darkness On this, the longest night of the year.Let our voices sound to the heavens.Let our wills be joined as one.Let our gifts strengthen the godsTo drive the Wolf once more to the shadowsTo hasten the Sun's rebirth. Invocations to earth and sky (Note 2):Druid 1:Hertha, O beloved Mother Earth From whose dark womb is born all green and growing things And to whom all life descends in death's darkness, We honor you as our forefathers did before us. Offering this precious drink; which was born of your bounty, We pray that you accept our gift and bless and uphold this rite. Druid 1 pours ale onto the earth beside the fire. Druid 1:Tiwaz, O beloved Father Sky From whose bright heaven comes the wind, the rain, And the lightning which first gave spark to life itself,We honor you as our forefathers did before us. Offering this precious grain, which was born of your bounty, We pray that you accept our gift and bless and uphold this rite. Druid 1 takes a handful of flour and blows it across the fire. Sacrifice to the outsiders (Note 3):Druid 3: ‑Ancient and dark ones; unseen, unsightly, and unlovedWe make this offering to youYou twisted and misshapenYou cold of heart .and dim of mindTake this offering and trouble not our rites. Druid 3 pours whiskey onto the earth, southwest of the circle (Note 4). Establishing the sacred centers:Druid 1:In ancient times fire, man's greatest tool and nature's fiercest weapon, defined the meeting place of the sacred and the profane, the heart of the home and of religious ceremony. Therefore, when we come together to celebrate the rites of our ancestors, we light a fire with flint and steel, the twin gifts of earth and skill. We light this fire as the center of our circle, the symbol of the ancient ways, and as a means by which our sacrifices may be conveyed to the realms of the gods.The fire attendant lights the fire with flint and steel (Note 5). Druid 4.O sacred fire that consumes and transformsAncient enemy and first born friend of humankind. Druid 4 pours oil into the fire. Druid 4:Accept this offering of fragrant boughBecome for us the living door to the heavensThe manifestation of the Shining Ones .And the path of our return to the ancient ways. (Note 6) Druid 4 raises rosemary branch. Druid 4:O sacred bough of fragrant memory (Note 7)May your sweet, rising smokeReach the halls of the gods. Druid 4 casts the rosemary into the fire. Druid 4:May we pray with a good fire. (Note 8) All participants cast rosemary sprigs into the fire. All:May we pray with a good fire. Druid 5 pours water from the jug into the well. Druid 5:O sacred waters that flow and swirl beneath all,Primeval womb of all that lives,Take into yourself the fire of the heavens.Become once again newly potent with unmanifested possibilities. (Note 9) Druid 5 pours oil into the well and lights the torch from the fire. Druid 5:Accept this offering of sacred oil. Become for us the door into the darkness And the mirror of the unknown. Druid 5 thrusts the torch into the well, extinguishing it and then asperges the participants with the wet branch. (Note 10) Druid 2 steps away from the circle to the east and spreads arms to gather attention. Druid 2:An ash stands, I know by the name Yggdrasil. (Note 12) The tree attendant (Note 11) exits the circle to the east and retrieves the tree which has been positioned just out side the gate to the east. The tree attendant returns to stand behind Druid 2 in the east.' Druid 2:That tall tree is watered by icicles daily. Thence. comes the dew that drops in the dells. It stands ever green above Urd's well. Three are the roots that run three ways Beneath that mighty bole uprearing: One harbors Hel, another the frost giants, Mortals find shelter beneath the third. Ratatosk is the squirrel that runs From its roots to the Heavens and again downward. The words of the eagle above the branches, He bears to the gnawer below. Four are the stags with necks gracefully arched That gnaw on the widespread, green‑clad limbs. There are more serpents beneath that treeThan any unwise ape could imagine. Yggdrasil's Ash must yet endure,More than mere mortal may know.The bole of it crumbles with rotAnd below gnaws the Serpent, ever hungry. The Ash Yggdrasil is the noblest of trees,The horse of Ygg, who rides upon itFrom Earth to Asgard and Hel after.Yet nine worlds I knew, nine Trees of Life,Before this World Tree grew from the ground. Druid 2 steps aside, leaving the tree and tree attendant as the attention focus.Druid 1 steps forward beside the tree, picking up the basket of tree ornaments. Druid 1: From the fire of the heavens to the watery abyss of the underworld, all trees are one tree, the Shaman's stallion that joins heaven and earth. So also is this tree, Yggdrasil, by which we may travel between the realms of mortals and gods, ,and with us our hopes, our dreams, arid our desires. Druid 1 walks slowly around circle, handing each person an ornament: Druid 1:In ancient times our ancestors would dedicate a tree in every grove and village to'‑be what were later called fairy trees. On this tree they would hang ornaments, ribbons, little bits of metal, or other tokens as symbols and sacrifices that their wishes might come true. From that comes today's custom of raising the Christmas tree. So tonight, we take this opportunity to remind the gods of our wishes and dreams. Take an ornament and dedicate it to some special desire, to some message you have for the gods tonight and hang it on the tree. Druid 1 demonstrates by hanging the first ornament on the tree, then moves aside. All:(Chorus)By fire and by water,Between the earth and sky,We stand like the World Tree,Rooted deep, crowned high. Come we now to the well,The eye and the mouth of earth.Come we now to the wellAnd silver we bring.Come we now to the well,The waters of rebirth.Come we now to the well.Together we sing. (Chorus) We will kindle a fire,A door to the Shining Ones. (Note 13)We will kindle a fireAnd offerings pour.We will kindle a fire,A light beneath the moon and sun.We will kindle a fire.Our spirits will soar. (Chorus) Gather we at the tree,The root and the crown of life.Gather we at the tree,The branching and tall.Gather we at the tree,The pillar of heaven brightGather we at the tree,The center of all! (Chorus)Sacrificial rites:Druid 1 (Note 14):O you who dwell within this land, who are this land in spirit; you round rocks and standing stones, you trees tall and solemn or spreading and fair; creatures hoofed, horned, scaled, and winged, we greet you in the spirit of kinship and offer you hospitality. May there be friendship and sharing between us in the ancient way. Druid 1 offers a bowl of nuts at the base of the tree. Then, he kindles torch to the east from the fire.Druid 1:O you who were our fathers' fathers and our moth ers' mothers, you who gave our flesh and blood its form, though now you dwell in the spirits' realm, we greet you in the hospitality always owed to kin ship. May you remember us in your. world, as we remember you in ours. May there continue to be sharing between us in the ancient way. Druid 1 offers a cup of special ancestral recipe (Note 15) at the western torch and kindles torch from fire.Druid 2:O you who are great beyond moral knowing, Shining Ones of ancient and immortal kin, Aesir and Vanir, gods of heaven and of earth, we greet you as in days of old. May there be friendship and hospitality between us. Gaze kindly on us, High One, Just‑as‑High, and Third! Accept the offerings we make this night, that there may be sharing between us in the ancient way. Druid 2 offers brandy directly into the fire. As Druid 3 begins speech, south and north torches are kindled from the fire. Druid 3:Tonight we come together to witness the longest night of the year and the beginning of winter. Over the centuries this has become a joyous time, as families join together and exchange food and gifts. We must remember that this was not always such a happy season. In ancient times, the first day of winter marked the beginning of along, cold, and often hungry wait until spring. During that wait it was not unusual for many members of the community to die. The oldest and the youngest, those too weak to survive without fresh fruits and vegetables, and victims of diseases that passed quickly in small houses around smoky fires would past away. This night was a preparation for the harsh times ahead. No one knew when death would come nor in what dark year Ragnarok's demons would swallow the sun entirely along with the gods and the men whom they protected: So it is on this night we join together, as they did then, to remember that all things die. Cattle, kinsmen, and even the gods themselves will someday pass away. We can only hope and pray that this night will not be the beginning of that endless night, that the sun will rise tomorrow, heralding a spring still far to come. Druid 1:Tonight we remember the darkness and the doom which will overtake even the gods by recounting the tale of how Odin came to know his own fate. He traveled the road to Hel to raise the ancient Volva from her grave to foretell the fate of Balder, the beloved God of the Sun (Note 16). Counsel took the Aesir underYggdrasil's out stretched branches.Omens sought, shook runes for answerWhy Balder was troubled by dreadful dreams. Mighty slight was the Sun‑God's slumberLess his comfort when lots were cast.Staves then showed him doomed to dieWoe the weird of Frigg's son. Up rose Odin, all‑wise fatherSaddled Sleipnir, faring downward,Riding the road to Hel's dark doorway.Summoned She who knows all secrets. Forced to rise, She spoke from the grave. Druid 2:Who among men wakes my sleeping?Covered with snow, I lay forgotten.Drenched with dew, long have I been dead. Druid l:Answered the Aesir's all‑high father. Druid 3:Name me Waywont. I will answer.Speak you from death's home as I from life'sFor whom is a place preparing yonder? Druid 2: .Mead is made for fair‑browed, Balder.Bench and couch are covered in gold.,Cease your questions. Ask no more! Druid 3:Cease not, seer. I will know all.Who shall be the bane of BalderAnd rob Odin's son of his age? Druid 2'High above the field there grewSlender and fair, the mistletoe bough.The sprig I see there shall becomeA sorrow‑dart shot by Hoder's hand.Now cease your questions. Ask no more! Druid 3:Cease not, seer. I will know all.Who shall avenge him harshly on Hoder?What hand shall bring Balder's bane to the pyre? Druid 2:Balder's brother, before his time born.Not one day old, shall Odin's son battle.He laves not his hands, nor combs his hairEre he brings Balder's foe to the fire.Now cease your questions. Ask no more! Druid 3:Cease not, seer. I will know all. Druid 2:No mere wanderer are you, Waywont.Odin I name you, Father of aeons.Know then the doom of the gods awaiting. Eastward in Ironwood the Old One sitsFostering Fenrir's fearsome offspring.From them shall come a troll‑shaped monsterThat shall devour the shining moon. It feeds on the life of those who lie dyingAnd blood‑red colors the dwellings of heaven.The sun shall be dark the summers thereafterAnd all winds stinking. For the Aesir crows a gold‑combed cockThat wakes the warriors in Host Father's hall.But another crows' beneath the earthA soot‑red cock in the halls of Hel! Garm howls at the hollows of HellWhat is fast loosens, and Freke runs freeTo Ragnarok, the gods' death‑struggle. Brothers shall battle and slay one another.Kin‑ties of sisters' sons be shattered.Ax‑time, sword‑time, shield shall be clovenWind‑time, wolf‑time, ere the world wanes. Loud blows Heimdal the horn held high.The giant .is loosened, the Tree overturned.The serpent writhes, whipping the waves: From. over the water come Muspell's folk.Loki their helmsman, monsters fare forthFlaring fire flames fierce from the south.Mountains burst open, heavens are sundered.Skewered the gods’ bright sun on a sword.. The sun grows dim.Earth sinks beneath the waters.The sparkling staffs fall dark from the sky.Fire entwines the life supporter.Steam rises to the heavens. Then comes Frigg's second life's sorrowAs Odin fares forth to battle the Wolf.The sword of Freyr flashes against the fireThere shall Frigg's heroes fall. Would you know more, or what?Ride home Odin, with what rest you may.So close shall none come to me againUntil Loki from his fetters is freeAnd the Wolf runs wild at Ragnarok! Druid l:So rode Odin homeward, bearing with him such knowledge as made his journey no lighter. Like Odin, perhaps we know more than is comfortable. We know that life and pleasure are never. secure and that our time to enjoy them is uncertain. Tonight a war is waged in the heavens between the gods of light and warmth and, the demons of cold and darkness. We celebrate Yule knowing that it marks the beginning of a winter which could always be the final winter, the terrible Fimbulwinter that precedes Ragnarok and the final destruction of the very gods themselves. We keep a fire‑vigil all this night, to join our hearts and wills together with those forces which are friendly to us and to mankind. To those forces whom we name gods, we offer the gifts of our shared affection and the strength of our will and desire. Here we have ale, fruits, and bread. Who will we name as our gods, friends, and protectors? Individuals volunteer the name of a favorite god or goddess, taking ale for libation and bread and fruit for more solid offering. In each case a piece or sip is taken by the worshipper to signify the shared nature of the sacrifice and then the equivalent part is tossed in the fire (Note 17). OMEN TAKING:Druid l:The gifts of the people rise to the gods on the smoke of sacrifice. May our prayers go clearly and without hindrance to those we have praised (Note 18). A favor requires a favor; a song another song, and a gift given requires a gift is return. This is the law of ancient, times, alike between man and man and mankind and the gods. We have offered our gifts to the gods and we ask them in return for knowledge of what tomorrow will bring. Will, our vigil bear fruit and the darkness pass? The seer draws and interprets a rune. If an, unfavorable omen is drawn, the vigil will give ample opportunity to the participants to meditate on the gods' message and consider how to respond individually.Druid 2 raises the mead bottle and blessing cup. Druid 2:Ancient and mighty ones we honor you. Having established the bond of hospitality with the gods, what the gods have given to us we distribute freely. Behold the waters of life!All:Behold the waters of life! The cup is passed around the circle. Participants at the opposite end of the circle from the cup begin to chant. All:When we give we receive and are blessedWhat we share will be shared in return.Those we praise in joy will respond in our need.We are kin to the gods when we drink their mead (Note 19). Druid 1:Now the formal sacrifice is ended. Let the people stay or part as they will. This, fire will be kept burning until sunrise to hold the night's power at bay. Good luck will follow those who keep vigil with strength and will to watch through out the night. All light in the house is kindled from the fire, and no electric lighting is used until dawn (Note 20). Closing rites performed at either visible dawn or clear light:.Druid 1:The son of the dawn spurs on his charger,Caparisoned gaily in precious gems.Radiance flows from his steed's mane.He draws in the chariot Dvalin's toy. Up rise the gods. Forth shines the sunNorthward to Niflheim. The night draws away.Heimdall once more springs upon Bifrost,Mighty‑clarion‑blower on the mountains of 'heaven. Another earth rises green from the sea.Torrents tumble. The eagle soarsFrom the mountains seeking fish.Harvests shall grow on unsown fields,Ills be recessed, and Balder shall come.With him Hoder shall build on Ropt's soil,As gentle gods of the chosen (Note 21). Druid 1 offers a final libation to the fire.Druid 1:Now is the sun returned to glory.Now is the darkness banished once more.Now is our long vigil ended in victory. Druid 1 offers the wishing tree into the fire (Note 22). Druid 1:Fire, carry our dreams to the heavensThen may you rest, your night's work done. Let the fire be flame. .Let the well be water.Let all be as it was before. The. rite is ended. Druid 1 extinguish the fire with water from the well. NOTES (1) Introductory Prayer  Original. I noticed that Little Acorn was in the habit of using several sections of "purpose and precedence" in an explanatory mode, but no "opening prayer" in a ritual/poetic mode, so I wanted a clear beginning which would among other things establish me as the person leading the rite. This focus was important in that half the people present were not experienced with formal ritual and needed to know who to follow for cues. (2) Invocations to Earth and Sky  I quibble with the ADF Standard of invoking "Inspiration" at this point. While various powers of ritual wording and poetic vision are universal in IE motif, the first and foremost deity of all IE pantheons, the mate of Mother Earth and the single deity universally recognizable in IE linguistic forms is Deus Pater, the Patriarchal Sky Father. Denial of this fact serves no useful purpose. Imbedding such denial in constant ritual is as magically dangerous as any other form of constant, ritualized denial of a major aspect of reality. The power of Inspiration is in general strongly linked to the IE veneration of the "fiery liquid" given by gods to man and linking the two by incorporation and sacrifice ‑ i.e. alcoholic beverage, which is highly celebrated in the ritual formula of the Waters of Life. (3) Sacrifice to the Outsiders  The placement of this passage in the ritual emphasizes the general linkage of the Outsiders/Monsters/Enemies in IE lore with the older, first generation of gods which also includes Mother Earth and Father Sky (for instance, Gaia and Uranos and the Titans). The second stanza of the standard ritual, "Likewise we acknowledge in ourselves," etc., was deleted due to the presence of family and friends to whom I felt the similarity to Roman Catholic "confession of sin" would be offensive. (4) Outsider's sacrifice poured to the SouthWest  On my property; a trio of pine trees marks the spot where sacrifices are regularly offered to the squirrels to keep them out of the garden. Furthermore, the design of the space made it impossible to make this offering in the North, which I consider most Ceremonially Appropriate. This statement when submitted to the Liturgists' Guild sparked a week‑long debate on the appropriate direction of the Outsiders. As a basic summary, it was observed that there is no universal direction of the Outsiders in IndoEuropean lore; while the South appears to be the direction of the Enemies in Vedic practice, the West is the direction of‑the Dead in Celtic mythology, and the East is the direction of jotunheim, the home of the Giants, in the Norse material from which this ritual is derived. In addition; it was noted by an ADF member that burial evidence suggests the orientation of warrior's graves so as to face the then current physical Enemies. Against this I argue the universal orientation of the ancient world to the East or rising sun (preserved, in fact, in the word "orientation"), giving the resultant placement of the taboo Left hand to the North. The North is the abode of demons in Parsee mythology, the land of the Dead (at the back of the North Wind) in Greek clad English, and Nifleheim, also the abode of the Dead, in Norse mythology. Furthermore, while grave orientation is not universal in practice, it shows a universal awareness of and response to a basic solar orientation; i.e., the head may be placed toward the sun or the face may be oriented toward the sure, but both indicate the same underlying intent; likewise, I would argue, with orientation of half‑reclining corpses towards the south in far northern Norse graves, where the predominant. direction of the `sun is more southern than eastern. Tus, in the northern hemisphere, the North is clearly the direction of Darkness, and in keeping with Indo‑European religious traditions, darkness is the direction of taboo. Finally, as determined Confederates located in Richmond, Virginia, it is the position of my household that the physical and mortal Enemy is definitively located in Washington D.C. (5) Lighting Fire With Flint and Steel  My husband has been lighting fire for ceremonies with flint and steel for 10 years. There is always, however, a certain amount of risk involved with this technique, as damp charcloth or anything less than perfect feeding with successive stages of tinder and kindling can lose the blaze. On this occasion, Robert came as close, he says, as he has ever come to losing it without doing so. Several of us thought he had. In fact, several of us still probably aren't completely sure whether he actually re‑lighted the fire with the Bic he had suddenly palmed from inside his sleeve. There are three possible contingency options for this disaster:1)       Have a Bic. It's also flint and steel, although not as impressive..2)       2) Make formal sacrifices of peculiam and start all over again from the very beginning of the ritual since this is close to the start. Double the sacrifice to the Outsiders.3)       3) Cut out all cheerful references, leave the lights off, and settle in for a long, cold, dark vigil of a ritual in solemn atonement for ritual error. (6) Sacrifice to Fire  Beginning with Corrigan's (a) initial line, I reworked this to emphasize the primary of Fire as the center of IE sacrificial ritual and its place as a symbol of continuous ancient tradition. I prefer to centralize both the independent divinity of the Fire and the Gods and the social content of ritual in linking the human community to them, rather than the individual psychological aspect of "let holy flame warm our spirits and our lives" and "Sacred fire; burn within us." (7) Rosemary Boughs  Besides having a sweet. scent and a modest psychoactive effect, rosemary .is a traditional purificatory herb in classical culture, and is linked in herbal tradition with strengthening memory. Therefore, it represents both the individual and the cultural group‑memory linking us to the rituals of ancient times. (8) May we pray with a good fire.  This line is actually Vedic (O'Flaherty p. 100, RV 1.26.8); it was borrowed second hand from Cei's Ostara ritual. (9) Sacrifice to Waters  Beginning with Corrigan's (a) tag‑line, I wanted to emphasize the Well as independent of the worshippers; not "the elder depths within us all," but the womb from which our souls spring. Again, in this ritual universe the sacred Well is not within, but without; we may come to grasp the Unknown, but we look for it in the outer, not the inner; Darkness. (10) MEETING OF FIRE AND WATER  The making of khernips, the water which has absorbed holy flame, is a fundamental element of classical GrecoRoman sacrificial ritual (see Apollonius' Ta Hiera, the Neoclassical Rite of Sacrifice) and harks again to the meeting of Fire and Water in the sacred and vital fiery liquid which the Gods' gift, blood, and semen (O'Flaherty, p. 97). In GrecoRoman ritual the participants ceremonially wash in the blessed water in ordinary rites (Burkert), however aspersion was used for purification in larger groups and was borrowed thence by early Christianity. (11) Staging the TREE  This technique was adopted as a last‑ditch solution to the otherwise intractable problem of how to fix the 'flee firmly in place. Without a large Tree, it couldn't be done easily in the time available, and we did not want to risk cutting a large tree from the local commons. So we resorted to the conventions of Chinese stage setting. This worked remarkably well, giving a ritually naive friend a useful job which required no advance preparation, and setting up the circumstances for a year of bad jokes. The motion involved in leaving the ritual area, coming back with the tree, and dividing attention from the main speaker allows wandering attention somewhere to rest which is nevertheless integral to the ritual. (12) An ash stands, I know, by name Yggdrasil  This entire description does not occur in any one place in the Eddas (I used Tichenell's Masks of 0din, despite my misgivings regarding the translator, for the vast majority of all my texts because it was on the shelf. I hope to acquire a more scholarly translation). It was necessary to piece together sections from the Voluspa (Tichenell verse 19 is the first stanza, Auden & Taylor verse 6 is the .last) and the Grimnismal (Tichenell 31‑35, .44); then touch up the poetry and add continuity. However, my only original addition was the second and third lines of the last stanza, "the horse of Ygg, who rides upon it, from Earth to Asgard, and Helle after." No formal meditation was included in this ritual because 1)       I don't think formal meditation belongs in ritual, it belongs in private devotion and small working groups, 2)       Half the people present don't meditate and would find the exercise pointless, time wasting, and possibly a joke at the Grove's expense,3)       Anyone who is inclined to meditate can and will slip into a good meditative state when the opportunity is provided by a long stretch of poetry like this or the core passages of the rite. As the average participant is a listener observer for the majority of the ritual, the ritual experience in and of itself is appropriately a meditation. As proof of this contention, less than three weeks after, the Little Acorn SD honestly thought that we had done a Grove Attunement during the ritual. 4)       Finally, the fire vigil provides a better opportunity for personal meditation for those who are specifically interested than anything which could be cobbled into the middle of the ritual. (13) We will kindle a Fire A door to the Shining OnesGather we at the TreeThe root and the crown of lifeGather we at the TreeThe branching and tall Gather we at the Tree The pillar of heaven bright Gather we at the Tree The Center of All. These lines were changed from the version previously published by Corrigan (c). I did this to eliminate references I mistakenly attributed. to Wiccan influence ("Bless all and with harm to none"), make the rhyme scheme consistent with the good first verse, and emphasize the place of each element as a Center. No formal Gate opening was used. I will write a paper on why I object to formal gate openings at some future time. In brief the Gods don't need us to make a gate for them. Most IE myths agree that the Gods co‑exist with us in this universe at their own discretion. If they aren't here, they can get here under their own power. To assume less is gross insult to Their abilities. IE tradition is to call the Gods, or Invoke them, as long, pleasantly, and intricately as possible ("or by whatsoever name it pleases You to be called") in order to get their attention. As far, as I know, there is no place for an "Opening of the Gate" in any IE ritual until the adoption of demonological summoning from .Middle Eastern tradition. Opening a Gate, however, does attract and provide passage for all sorts of other things that like to feed off of human energy. The sacrifice to the Outsiders does not eliminate this problem; it's only going to buy off the small and unsophisticated Problems. While I'm not claiming that opening a Gate will lead to a visit from Great Cthulu, I do believe that it will lead to attention from many entities which the majority of people at any rite do not have the ability to recognize or deal with. This added to both normal human psychological imbalances, and the tendency for marginalized persons such as are attracted to Neopagan religion to have more than normal psychological imbalances, leads to an interaction‑effect which can only increase the statistical probability of life crises and emotional disturbances in attendees over the following cyclical period. Especially at the cyclical New Year, I feel that it is unethical to impose such a risk on non-magicians who haven't the faintest understanding of the potential consequences. ADF needs to decide whether they are truly doing "open" ritual for non-initiates, or magical ritual for an initiatory group. The same rules simply don't apply to both audiences. (14) Sacrificial Rites  Although these were written to provide continuity for the written ritual, in practice, I simply asked the person making the invocation to say a few brief words of their own preference. I do not believe there is a wrong way to make the Triple Sacrifice, and due to the length of the prepared portions of the script, it seemed well to keep these simple. (15) Special Ancestral Recipe  Not everyone, of course, has a Special Ancestral Recipe. Ours is called "bourdeongus," and is a homemade Dutch liquor which has been translated by Dutch friends as meaning "Farm Boy." It is similar to other traditional recipes dating back to the seventeen century and known throughout Scandinavia, consisting of three parts whiskey to two parts each of raisins and sugar, with cinnamon and other spices. The important thing is that this recipe has been a part of our family's holiday tradition for more than a century, making it especially appropriate to offer to those who have shared it with us in life as well as the Spirit Realm. (16) The Descent of Odin and the Prophecy of Volva .  My intention in this piece was to provide a genuine recitation from ancient texts as the core of the ritual, much as Christians base their rituals on readings from the Bile and ancient holiday celebrations would be based on a ritual re‑telling of significant myths in words that had beep themselves hallowed by repeated ritual use. I started by going through the Eddas in the expectation of find the story of Balder described completely in one place. However, this proved impossible. The only coherent stories in the Eddas, it appears, are Snorri Sturlesson's prose contributions. The older lays are fragmentary and allusory; in ,many places they obviously refer to incidents which were such common knowledge as to not need repeating. By not .repeating what would only bore their own audiences, the skalds have lift .us. a mishmash of poetic reference. and allusion. The story that appeared, to emerge from reading Waywont, Odins Corpsgalder, Havamal, Grimnismal, and Voluspa, however; was That on the occasion of the first prophecy of Balder's impending doom, arid perhaps while Frigga was wandering the world extracting oaths from various characters not to harm him, Odin took the high road to Hey to ask a dead seeress all of the particulars, probably in hopes of learning how to avert the fate. Once summoned, this seeress told him not only all about Balder's fate, but ,also about the entire episode of Ragnarok. Implied is that the Volvo on the one hand was not a friend of the Gods, but not a complete enemy either; she mentions being the child of Giants. "Waywont" appears to give some of the context for this story; "Voluspa" appears to be the speech of the seeress; Odin's Korpsgaldr suggests additional references to Iduna or Nannas's role as the keeper of the apples of immortality, and the rebirth of the world and the gods afterwards. Additional information is provided in Vaftrudnismal, translated by Tichenell as the "Lay of Illusion". None of it is exactly clear, so I made the best of it that I could. Although I originally intended simply to steal the lines and string them together, I found it necessary to do quite a bit of tweaking in order to establish good rhythm, which is a necessary for memorization of the lines, and make it comprehensible. All thefts are from Tichenell, with V=Voluspa and W=Waywont: W 1‑3Counsel took the Aesir underYggdrasil's o'erspreading branchesOmens sought, shook runes for answerWhy Balder was troubled by dreadful dreams. Mighty slight was the sun‑god's slumberLess his comfort when lots were castStaves then showed him doomed to dieWoe the weird of Frigga's son. W 6, 8‑15Up rose Odin, all‑wise fatherSaddled Sleipnir, faring downwardRiding the road to Hel's dark doorwaySummoned She who knows all secrets. Forced to rise, she spoke from the grave:Who, among men wakes my sleeping?Drenched with dew long have I been dead. Answered the Aesir's all‑high fatherName me Waywont; I will answerSpeak you from death's home as I from Life'sFor whom is a place preparing yonder? Mead is made for fair‑browed BalderBench and couch are covered in goldCease your questions, ask no more! Cease not, seeress, I will know all.Who shall be the bane of BalderAnd rob Odin's son of his age? V33‑34High above the field there grew.Slender and fair; the mistletoe boughThe sprig I see there‑ shall become eA sorrow-dart shot by Hoder's hand.Now cease your questions; ask no more! Cease not, seeress, I will know all.Who shall avenge him harshly on Hoder?What hand shall bring Balder's bane to the pyre? W 15, also Y35Balder's brother, before his time bornNot one day old, shall Odin's son battleHe laves not his hands, nor combs his hairEre he brings Balder's foe to the fire.Now cease your questions; ask no more! Cease not, seeress; I will know all. W17No mere wanderer are you WaywontOdin I name you, father of aeonsKnow then the doom of the Gods awaiting: V 41‑42, 44‑48, 51, 53, 55, 56Eastward in Ironwood the Old One sitsFostering Fenrir's fearsome offspringFrom them shall come a troll‑shaped monsterThat shall devour the shining moon. It feeds on the life of those who lie dyingAnd blood-red colors the dwellings of heavenThe sun shall be dark the summers thereafterAnd all winds stinking. For the Aesir crows a gold-combed cockThat wakes the warriors in Hostfather's hallBut another crows beneath the earthA soot-red cock in the halls of Hel! Garm howls at the hollows of HelWhat is fast loosens, and Freke runs freeTo Ragnarok, the Gods' death‑struggle. Brothers shall battle and slay one anotherKin‑ties of sisters' sons be shatteredAx‑time, sword‑time; shield shall be clovenWind‑time, wolf‑time, ere the world wanes. Laud blows Heimdal the horn held highThe giant is loosenedThe Tree overturnedThe serpent writhes, whipping the waves. From over the water come Muspell's folkLoki their helmsman, monsters fare forth Flaring fire flames fierce from the south.Mountains burst open, heavens are sunderedSkewered the gods' bright sun on a sword. The sun grows dim; earth sinks ‘neath the watersThe sparkling stars fall dark from the skyFire entwines the Life‑SupporterSteam rises to the heavens. Then comes Friggas second life's sorrowAs Odin fares forth to battle the WolfThe sword of Frey flashes against the fireThere shall Frigga's heroes fall. W 19, except that the phrase "Would you know more, or what" is from the Auden/Taylor translation of the Voluspa Would you know more, or what?Ride home, Odin, with what rest you maySo close shall none come to me againUntil Loki from his fetters is freeAnd the Wolf runs wild at Ragnarok! (17) Naming of the Gods  Despite having pre-arranged this with both Grove and family members, it took a little while for the sacrificial action to warm up. It is utterly necessary for certain members of the group to be pre-selected to offer the first couple of sacrifices in order to demonstrate the ritual and encourage participation. (18) Also from Cei Serith's Ostara ritual  (19) Original . . . .  I have tried to work out a tablature for transcription of music in alphanumeric form. below. As the entire song is in major key, (+) marks indicate the note at the .next higher octave rather than a sharp, with numbers indicating each beat in a measure of 4/4 time. 3 4 | 1‑2 3 4|1‑2 3 4 | 1‑2‑3‑4| 1‑2D D G G G D+ D+ B A-When we give, we re‑ceive and are blessed 3 4 | 1‑2 3 4|1‑2 3 4 | 1‑2‑3‑4| 1‑2D D G G G D+ D+ B A-What we share will be shared in re‑ turn 3 4 | 1‑2 3‑4| 1‑2D D G G D+Those we praise in joy 3 4 | 1-2 3-4| 1‑2D+ D+ C+ B C+ AWill re‑spond in our need 3 4 | 1‑2 3 4 | l‑2 3 4 | 1‑2 3‑4 | 1‑2‑3‑4B C+ D+ G G G A B A A GWe are kin to the gods, when we drink their mead (20)  This is a personal custom which I have practiced for about 15 years; however it is very difficult to convince guests that you mean business. The only way to perfectly maintain ritual purity among nonbelievers is to threaten them with death or dump the beer over their heads. (21) Closing Rites OdensThe son of the Dawn spurs on his charger KorpsgaldrCaparisoned gaily in precious gems V24Radiance flows from his steed's maneHe draws in the chariot Dvalin's toy V26Up rise the gods; forth shines the sunNorthward to Nlflheim the night draws awayHeimdal ‑once 'more springs upon BifrastMighty clarion‑blower on the mountains of heaven VoluspaAnother earth rises green from the sea , V61Torrents tumble; the eagle soarsFrom the mountains, seeking fish: V64Harvests shall grow on unsown fieldsIlls be recressed, and Balder shall comeWith him Hoder shall build on Ropt's soilAs gentle gods of the Chosen (22)  My husband pointed out to me that feeding an entire green tree into the fire at dawn was sure to create enough smoke to frighten the neighbors and bring out the Fire Department. Therefore, the Tree was fed to the Fire bit by bit over the course of my vigil, repeating the injunction to:Fire, carry our dreams to the heavensThen may you rest, your night's work donewith each branch. This also gave me the opportunity to magically identify the ornaments with the branches they had been attached to as I set them aside, because .I accidentally bought cheap styrofoam balls which could not be burned without nasty fumes. Paper or other natural ornaments would be a wiser investment. WORKS REFERENCED AND CITED: Burkert, W (1985). Greek Religion. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Corrigan. (1998). ADF ‑ A Standard Liturgy. http://www.adf.org/rituals/explanations/liturgy.html Corrigan. (1998). .The Yuletide Blessing. http://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/nyule.html Ellis‑Davidson, H.R. (1986). Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. New York: Penguin. , Gordon, E.V. (1978). An Introduction to Old Norse 2 Edition. Oxford: Oxford/Clarendon. Havamal (W H. Auden & P .B. Taylor, Trans.). Munch, PA. & Hustvedt, S. (Eds..). (1954). Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods and Heroes. New York: The American‑Scandinavian Foundation. O'Flaherty, WD. (Ed.). (1981). The Rig Veda: An Anthology. New York: Penguin. Serith, C. & Green, G. Ostara Rite. http://www.adf.org/rituals/proto-indo-european/ostara.html The Song of the Sybil (W.H. Auden & P.B. Taylor,Traps.).  Sophistes, A. (1994). Neoclassical Sacrifice (Ta Hiera): General Celebratory Ritual Outline. http://opsopaus.com/OM/BA/NS.html Tichenell, E. B. (1988). The Masks of Odin: Wisdom of the Ancient Norse. Pasadena: Theosophical University Press. 


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