Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Solitary Winternights

At right, you see my simple altar for observing Winternights this evening. Click the image to view a few more photos. I was unable to join my friends who were celebrating the holiday in East Stroudsburg, but I wanted to at least do something small on my own tonight. Particularly because this afternoon I received confirmation that I have been accepted into a national Heathen organization's Clergy Program. That is certainly worthy of a boast and a shout of gratitude to the Gods and Goddesses. Around 5pm, I started collecting the items I would need and I arranged them outside. On the altar, I set the following items: a plaque of Odin, a statue of Thor, a stick of sandlewood incense, a votive, a pitcher of organic cider, hammer, and the blessing bowl. This was the first ritual use for both the pitcher and the bowl which were separate purchases over the summer. I also lit a small fire in our metal chimnea. As dusk fell, I lit the candles (altar votive and a lantern) and some incense. Then I turned off the back porch light and prepared myself with a few cleansing breaths. There was a chill in the air. It felt right. Mrs. Brainwise joined me, but only to observe, not participate. She is still uncertain what to make of my faith. But I was glad for her company. It is good to have a woman present during a blot to the Disr. I hallowed the space with my take on the hammer rite:
Hammer Hallow this stead:
By Thor's might which upholds us,
By Baldur's light, which inspires us,
By Frigga's wisdom which guides us,
By Odin's hand which guards us,
By Heimdall's watch which shields us,
By Freyr's vitality, which sustains us,
And by Freya's love which blesses us,
Hammer hallow and hold this holy stead.
Then I poured cider into the horn, raised it, and blessed it, asking the Gods and Goddesses and the Disr to accept it. Likewise I raised the offerings up and blessed them. I then performed three draughts (I cannot really call them "rounds"), raising the horn first to the Aesir and the Vanir, second to collective Disr, and finally to my own paternal great grandmothers and Mrs. Brainwise's paternal grandmother. I left the plate of food offerings at the base of the tree and poured out some fresh cream. Then I took the blessing blowl and poured out its contents with my own twist on a familiar refrain:
From the Source to the Gods to the Earth to Us.
From Us to the Earth to the Gods the Source.
A Gift for a Gift.
With that, the ritual was complete. I answered a few brief questions for Mrs. Brainwise, after which she returned to watch college football. And I began the slow effort of dismantling the ritual space, taking care to ensure the fire would burn out safely. Welcome winter...


CrimsonFox said...

How lovely! Congratulations on your acceptance. It's the simple and gentle rituals that tend to mean the most and this was very nice.
I've always felt a kinship with the Asatru and the more I read of the rituals the closer a family they seem to the Celts.

Hrafnkell said...

Congrats on being accepted into the clergy course, my friend. Being very sensible people, Heathens are perfectly capable of conducting a ritual and then getting back to the business of football. I defy a Christian to make such an easy transfer of energies.

As a reward, I am tagging you :)