Episode 20 – Ritual part 2 – how to do it
Shout out to TAC Charter member Chance Beckner who suggested the topic for this episode.
Things we talk about in this episode:
'Ancient Whispers I' by P C III, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence.
'Round II - The Ancients' by Learning Music, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence
Background fire ambience by inchadney from freesound.org
Ceremony – it’s what’s important to you. Find a way of ceremony that has meaning for you, and that you get value out of.
Do the preparations that you want to do – gather your tools, wash, prepare any words you want to use
Get to your chosen space on time – especially if you are meeting with a group for ritual.
“See here, Mars...” Titus Pullo, Rome, Season 1, episode 1
There are several parts that you can consider:
Create sacred space – help define that time and space as sacred. Suzanne uses the Hammer Rite for this. You can use a hammer for this, you will also need to be able to identify the four cardinal compass points. Some phones will have an inbuilt compass app, or you can get hold of a compass relatively cheaply. The Hammer Rite, or Hallowing, comes from Edred Thorson, and can be used to mark all four points of the compass, just North and South or calling on fire and ice. There’s more details here: http://www.modernheathen.com/2009/04/16/hammer-rite/ . There’s an article here that feels that using the Hammer Rite has been influenced by Wicca (http://heathentalk.com/2016/12/26/hammer_rite/) some folks like to use it, and some don’t it’s up to you.
The opening to your ritual:
Greet/offer to the landspirits – even if you are in your own garden/ on your own land
Greet/offer to the ancestors
Greet/offer to the Gods in general
The middle bit of your ritual:
This bit is the personal bit – you can include prayer, readings from the Havamal or sagas, music, songs, poetry that you have written, give an offering, spontaneous prayer or words, sharing an offering with the gathered people, dancing or drumming. You may also want to have time for silence in your ritual. This bit can be as long or as short at you need.
The ending of your ritual:
Thank the Gods in general
Thank the ancestors
Thank the landspirits
Thank the people gathered (if you are in a group)
Pack up your things from the site – don’t forget to safely dock your incense and candles, and take all your rubbish off the site. Be considerate where you place any offerings for the landspirits.
Be attentive as you take any ritual jewellery or clothing off, that you pack it safe for next time. This also becomes part of your ritual practice.
Ritual practice will develop and change through time and your experiences. You can try different things out and see what resonates for you.
All roads lead to chocolate cake…
Historical accounts of ritual/religious practice. There aren’t many. There are more descriptions of the temples and sacred spaces, rather than accounts of what a ritual actually contained.
Adam of Bremen describes the temple at Uppsala being officiated over by priests, in his work Gesta Hammaburgensis. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesta_Hammaburgensis_ecclesiae_pontificum) He describes three statues of the Gods in a temple at Uppsala, each of which has its own priest attendant. His work contains useful information, but also speculation, so be aware when you read it.
Chapter 4 of Eyrbyggja saga tells of a hof dedicated to Thor, with a pedestal in the middle of the floor with an armring for swearing oaths, a bowl and idols. Chapter 2 of Kjalnesinga saga holds a similar description of a temple in which a statue of Thor stood. In front of this was an iron-covered altar holding an arm ring, on which oaths were sworn, and a copper bowl.
Sometimes it’s nice to have a Gothi or Gytha leading ritual, sometimes it’s nice to do things yourself.
“I am the leader!” - Franjeen and Rool – Willow (1988)