HearthFire Grove Yule

Background

Historically, the "Twelve Nights" of Yule begin sometime around our December 20th and end at our New Year, encompassing the darkest night of the year, the Winter Solstice. As it is in the dead of Winter, it was for our ancestors a time for the Folk to gather in their halls and light fires against the harsh coldness outside. They would feast on the crops they had saved for this dark time of the year, and share what gifts they might in order to keep their moods bright through the season. Religiously, Yule holds a similar place for Northern traditions as Samhain holds for Celtic traditions, namely that it is an in-between time, a time when the old year has ended but the new year has not begun. As for the Celts at Samhain, it is a time when the Dead walk freely among the living, and may be honored and consulted for wisdom. It is a time to make peace with the year that is past and make plans for the year to come. It is a time when we, the Folk, gather to acknowledge the cold darkness of Winter and ask the Kindreds for help through the hard times so that we may yet see the next year’s planting and reaping.

Processional

 

A musical signal is given to signal the beginning of the ritual, and the folk process from the coldness of outside the home to the ritual area inside, singing We Approach the Sacred Grove as they do so (at least 3x):

All: We approach the sacred grove
With hearts and minds and flesh and bone
Join us now in ways of old
We have come home

D1:We are here to honor the gods.

D2: It is the dark time of the Yuletide and the deep night is upon us.
The cold frost bites at our skin and the weather rides hard on our souls.
Let us make haste to honor the Shining Ones, that we may turn toward the light of the coming year under their protection.

Earth Mother

D2 honors Nerthus, the Earth Mother with words and an offering:

Nerthus Earth Mother,
You stand solid beneath our feet,
Cold of rock hardness of ice
Carry us on to night’s next night
Support us well Njord’s twin
Vanir Mother strong sea sister
Bring faith to fruit Birch-bright one
Honor to you your rhythms true

Hail Nerthus!

All: Hail Nerthus!

D2 makes the offering.

Grounding and Uniting in the Grove Meditation

(Grove meditation done.)

Bard leads the folk in the Unity Chant (1x):

 

All: We are one, in our grove,
upon the earth, within the sea, beneath the sky.
We are joined, to send our call,
to the honored dead, to the spirit folk, to the blessed gods.
We praise thee, in one voice, in our sacred grove.
We are one.

Establishing the Sacred Grove through Fire, Well, and Tree (Triads)

Sacred Fire

 

FM: Sacred Fire, holy woods
Warm light to fill the hall
Nine realms are formed
With our words this night
Let the Folk hear the call
Light fires within warmth to the True
Fire’s flame burns to form the garth
Woods kindle well, with the fire of the hearth.
Let us call the Kindred forth!

 

The Fire Maiden (FM) lights the fire and makes an offering of incense.

 

FM: I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power.
Sacred fire, burn within us.

 

All: Sacred fire, burn with us.

FM censes the site and the folk.

Sacred Well

 

KW:

Holy Well waters deep
Three streams strong gathers the flow
One of Wyrd shining ones know
Another yet icy, serpent-safe
Last of wisdom, many eyes to see
What is, what was what will be
Watching sisters of örlog, three
Our Folk look on, watching well.
Let us call the Kindred forth!

The Keeper of the Well (KW) pours the waters and makes an offering of silver.

 

KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom.
Sacred waters flow within us.

All: Sacred waters, flow within us.

KW asperges the site and the folk.

Sacred Tree

 

 

TT: Mighty Tree middle of all
Nine realms full its branches make
Much knows Har High One hung;
Ygg’s steed hight ever green stays.
Serpent below eagle above
Squirrel between Nith-hewer gnaws
Ash-wood tall wet with white dews
Strong-standing true our Folk seek shelter
Let us call the Kindred forth!

 

TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree.
Sacred tree, grow within us.

 

All: Sacred tree, grow within us.

The Tender of the Tree (TT) dresses & censes the world tree.

The formation of the vertical axis is completed with:

 

D1: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,

 

All: Flame and flow and grow in me!

 

D1: In land, sea and sky,

 

All: Below and on high!

 

D1: Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed.

 

All: So Sind Sie! ("zo zind zee")

D1: By the cleansing of water and fire, let all ill turn away from me and mine.

All: So Sind Sie!

Opening the Gates Between the Worlds

D1 calls to Mödgud, guardian of the icy bridge to Hel’s realm:

 

D1: Mödgud warder
Maiden mighty, ever keen
Hella’s watcher, wide bridge seen
Dead men ride o’er your charge
Guardian great, long your gaze,
Gioll, golden, glowing bright
Helmod rode hard, right your aid
Low rings Gioll the Folk hear this night
Mödgud, we pray, Let our blood-kin pass

 

D1 makes an offering to Mödgud.

 

All: We invoke you Mödgud, opener of every gate
We invoke you Mödgud, opener of every gate
You will reach us, you will teach us, and reveal our fate.
You will reach us, you will teach us, and reveal our fate. (3x)

 

Offering to the Outdwellers

D4 makes an offering to the Outdwellers outside of the ritual space, saying:

 

D4: You on the borders, Ettins, thurses,
Rises, trolls, all of giant kin
Take this offering this night, now
And trouble not the work of my Folk.

 

Bardic Inspiration

 

The bard invokes Bragi, god of poetic inspiration:

Bard: Bragi! Odinson!
Best of the wordsmiths and first of the skalds,
You with the tongue of gold,
Whose words are like the finest mead,
We ask you best of bards,
To inspire us and make our words mix well.
Bragi, let your inspiration flow!

 

All: Bragi, let your inspiration flow!

The Bard makes an offering to Bragi.

Honoring and Inviting the Three Kindreds

Ancestors

D5:

Ancestors old
Heroes renowned
Blood of our veins,
Strength in our souls,
Grandmothers, Disir,
Wise watching women,
Weal-bringing warders,
We offer you welcome.
Grandfathers, Alfar, light-alf, dark-alf, black-alf,
Weal-bringing warders, We offer you welcome.
Great heroes of eld, might-memory knows,
Your valor shines still, We offer you welcome.
O Ancestors of blood and heart, we call you forth!

All: Ancestors of blood and heart, we call you forth!

D5 makes an offering.

All sing Mothers and Fathers of Old (3x):

From far beyond this mortal plane, mothers and fathers of old
We pray that you return again, mothers and fathers of old
To share with us the mysteries and secrets long untold
Of the ancient ways we seek to reclaim, mothers and fathers of old

 

Nature Spirits

D6: Land spirits Keepers of place,
Wise with weather, Your knowledge runs deep.
Luck and prosperity, Your blessings fall,
Honor to you, We bring this night.
Landvaettir great Ancient as earth,
Boulder-homed, Water-homed,
Land wights old, Guardians true,
Your strength strong still, We offer you welcome.
O Spirits of the natural world, we call you forth!

All: Spirits of the natural world, we call you forth!

D6 makes an offering.

All sing Fur and Feather (3x; this verse written by Gwynne Green, original Fur and Feather by Sable):

Stone and Bone and River bright,
Those over Hill and Barrow Wight,
Body of Bark and Limb and Leaf,
Soul of the Corn and harvest Sheaf.

 

Gods and Goddesses

D7: Aesir, Vanir Shining Ones all,
On Itha Plain met Many moons past,
Of Ask and Embla, Our ancestors first,
Many things made, Of the gods we all come.
None of you gods, is not mighty indeed,
Of soul, sense, and being you have given us well,
Taught us of runes, Of faith and troth,
Of right-mindfulness, and honor true,
O Shining Ones of magic and might, we call you forth!

All: Shining Ones of magic and might, we call you forth!

D7 makes an offering.

All sing Hail All the Gods (3x):

Hail all the gods,
Hail all the goddesses.
Hail all the holy ones,
We dwell together.
Lords of the sky,
Ladies of the sacred earth,
Spirits and the Ancestors,
We dwell together.
Hail all the Gods!
Hail all the Goddesses!
Hail all the Gods...and Goddesses.

 

Meditation of Merging the Energies and Re-Centering

(Merging & re-centering meditation done.)

Ritual Purpose, and Honoring the Spirits of the Occasion

D2 states the ritual purpose & historical precedent.

D1 calls to Ullr ("ool") and Skadhi ("skah-dee"), that the Folk might give them honor:

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.

(offering made)

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.

(offering made)

D1 conducts a group intonement to honor the ancestors who have watched over and guided the Folk over the past year, beginning with:

Hear now the ringing of Gioll, the cold golden bridge to Hella’s realm! See the pale battalions of the dead cross the bridge freely to our garth this night! Feel them nearby, mighty wisdom of the ancients receiving our honor! Hear the low ringing of Gioll! See Mödgud stand watch over the golden bridge! Feel our honored dead come to the hearth! Hear the low, l o w, l o w r i n g i n g ! and sing with the ringing of the bridge! in praise of the guidance our ancestors give, that we should always have it if we but ask!and in thanks for their love and guidance! let us sing!

(The Bard starts a low but steady hum, others follow; the humming/singing stops when those gathered feel it is appropriate.)

Praise Offerings to the Kindreds and Spirits

D1: Have the Folk brought praise?

Bard: They have.

D1: So Sind Sie!

The Bard conducts three rounds of praise offerings: Ancestors, Nature Spirits, and Gods.

An Omen for the Blessings is Taken and Shared

While the omen is being taken the folk sing Come Druids All (as often as necessary):

Come druids all, ovates and seers
And let your minds be still.
Earth, sea, and sky will lend no fears,
As the gods reveal their will.
Let every heart sing praise to them,
And all our works be skilled.
Claiming their blessings to the very end,
As the gods reveal their will.

Receiving the Blessings of the Gods and Spirits

D1 holds the waters aloft and hallows them with the blessings of the gods, as revealed in the omen. The Diviner leads the singing of the runes over the cup, then D1 says:

Wyrd’s well waters, We waited to reveal,
Three women weaving, Scores cut and laws laid,
Women writing örlog for the sons of men.
Well have we witness to the glory of gods,
Giving gift for gift, great ones all.
Our waters received, wetness of galdr.
Words were spoken and runes were read,
Wyrd was revealed And weal we await.
With these waters let our blessings flow!

Seih den Lebenswassern da!

All: Behold, the Waters of Life!

The waters are passed and drunk, or asperged, as size of the group allows. As the waters are given to the Folk, they sing (3x):

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

Thanking the Kindreds and Spirits

D1: Kindreds have come heeded our calling
Honor was given and honor received.
Great are our dead, and great are our heroes,
Great are our land wights, and great are our gods.
With each call we make to our Kindreds true,
They heed our calls more, and our troth stronger be.
Rite ending, words waning, our troth stronger still,
We carry it well with us all ways
Honor to the Kindreds for ever more.

Ullr, Skadhi, Wir danken Sie.
All: Wir danken Sie.
D1: Goette, Goettern, Wir danken Sie.
All: Wir danken Sie.
D1: Naturgeisten, Wir danken Sie.
All: Wir danken Sie.
D1: Vorfahr, Ahne, Wir danken Sie.
All: Wir danken Sie.
D1: Mödgud, Wir danken Sie.
All: Wir danken Sie.
D1: Nerthus, Wir danken Sie.
All: Wir danken Sie.

Closing the Gates and Ending the Rite

D1: Mödgud, mighty maiden, warder ever keen
Well do we know, what duty must do,
We thank you indeed, for watching the ways,
Guiding our kin home now to Hella’s embrace.
Gioll ringing loud though remembering remains,
We trust your rightness great guardian woman
That with need known again we may pass by your stay
Your wisdom to guide well we, and our kindred of Hel.
Let the gates be closed!

All: Let the gates be closed!

D1: We have done as our ancestors did and as our children will do and The Gods have answered! Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close. So Sind Sie!

All: So Sind Sie!

Author Information

Member # 728

Articles by Member # 728

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