Thornhaven Yule Blot and Sumbel 2020
Note: This event is virtual, so please check the Facebook event for information on how to connect to the virtual ritual. Facebook Event.
Pre-ritual run-down: Households can choose to follow along with their own altars. List of offerings and ritual tools are included in people’s packages.
Ritual begins at each person’s altar, hearth or chosen ritual space.
Statement of Intent
“Tonight, the darkness wins. In the battle between day and night, the day has been conquered, and we, the people of Midgard, must now endure the long nights of Winter’s reign. Frost giants surround us, and with them, come the threats of danger and death. What keeps us alive during this time is the shelter and warmth of our homes, and the company of our Kin, both those we live with, and those we connect with virtually.
“Yule is a time of celebration, of gathering together around the fire, of accepting the blessings of kinship and community- food, drink, laughter, warmth. It stands in harsh contrast to the inhuman world outside, where the Giants roam, where there is no room for error, no mercy and no fairness. This year more than any we have previously experienced, highlights the stark contrast between the world we create with each other, and the world outside of that warmth, connection and support. So we help each, support each other, and give each other solace. We wear our masks to protect others, we stay inside, and we refrain from gathering, even though we keenly miss the person-to person connection. That is what kinship is. On this longest night, with the cold and the darkness hovering just outside our doors, we here gathered in this virtual space form a kindred, to protect each other, support each other, comfort each other.”
“Tonight, we will recognize both the darkness and the light: First, we will give tithing to the Frost Giants out there in the wilderness, to recognize their role in the balancing of the world, and secure protection for our kin during this most dangerous of seasons. We will then also honour, through celebration, the blessings of Yule amongst our kindred, sharing the warmth and the comfort of our hearths with each other. ”
“Tonight, we will give our Gods what we can, and take from them the blessings they see fit to bestow upon us.”
“First, let us give our due to the wild dark, to those who dwell in the barren snow, the unforgiving ice.”
Direction: If you can go outside and have a modicum of privacy for this section, please do so. If not, face the northerly direction and place an offering bowl in front of you.
“We call out into the darkness,
Into the bitter cold and harsh winds,
We the people of Thornhaven Kindred
Call out the enemies of the Gods.
You who know not the warmth of the Hall
Who are strangers to company, and the blessings of Humankind.
We, who are not your enemies, but see you for what you are
And recognize your value and place in our world
You give us snow to help regenerate the earth
You give us wind to cleanse the air
You give us ice, from which our own ancestors sprang
You give us darkness so that we may know rest.
Wild Ones, Frost Giants,
We offer you a tithe
To secure the protection of the folk here gathered.
Keep safe our people, our loved ones, our animals, our property,
Do not jeopardize our safety or health.
With this offering we buy ourselves peace
Though tempests and blizzards may howl
And pandemics may rage.
Let our voices carry on the North Wind,
Let our offering be brought to your Mountains.
Direction: Return back to your altar/hearth/ritual space.
Offering to Earth Mother
“For the peace of mid-winter
For the bounty of the feast-table
For the shelter of the Hall
And the comfort of Kin
We say Hail to you, Earth Mother!
The foundation of our lives and all our happiness is built upon you, and so we give you this, the first offering in thanks.”
(Offering of grains is poured into the offering bowl)
Offering to Sky Father
Son of Jorth, Red-bearded one
Bringer of lightning, seeding the sky
We gather under your shield
Skyfather, mighty one
Protector of Midgard
Grant us the hallowing of Mjolnir
Might Donar, honour us as we honour you.
(Offering of beer is made to the offering bowl)
(Direction: If you have a Yule tree, you can use it as your world tree for the occasion. If not, feel free to use your world-tree approximate from your altar, or even a potted plant.
“Let us now recreate the centre of all things, where our magic is strongest and where our words are clearly carried to their homes.”
We are at the centre of all things
Response: (Home of our home)
The Land is firm below our feet
(Home of our home)
The eternal Sea surrounds us
(Home of our home)
The endless Sky stretches out above us
(Home of our home)
By land and sea and sky do we come
By land and sea and sky are we made
By land and sea and sky we are
At the centre of all things
(Home of our home)
In the centre of all, there is the one tree
Yggdrasil, mighty pillar
Stretching above and below
And through the nine worlds
Steed of Odin, home of secrets
Time worn but ever standing.
Shelter we find ‘neath your branches
Strength we draw from your roots
Sacred tree, grow within us!
Response: Sacred tree, grow within us
(Tree is libated with water from the Sacred Well)
All: Sacred Tree, Grow within us.
In the centre of all, beneath the tree
There are three wells of power
One of magic, mighty wyrd
The other, deep and full of darkness,
The third, belonging to the Norns,
of wisdom and fate, for those who seek it.
The powers flow deeply below our feet.
Sacred waters, flow within us
Response: Sacred waters, flow within us
In the centre of all, beneath the tree
We light the sacred fire
(light the candle provided by Thornhaven Grove)
Bright is the praise that we will give
In kindling the flames of sacrifice
With holy fire we raise our offerings up
Upward to the realms of gods
And pure will our worship be.
Sacred fire, burn within us
Response: Sacred fire, burn within us
Wherever we stand, we stand on sacred ground
Protected by the spirit of the thorn, hallowed by the fire and water
In this space, our spirits are united
At the centre of all worlds
Direction: For those following at home, visualization is included with the words.
Now we call upon Heimdall, the gatekeeper, so we can connect to the realms and the shining ones. Watch the fire and see Bïfrost, the rainbow bridge, manifest to us. (See a man in white, standing at the end of a rainbow bridge, with a sword in one hand, and a giant horn in the other. He shines brightly and smiles at you.)
Heimdall, shining one, guardian of beautiful Bïfrost, where Asgard and Midgard meet: We ask you, father of all men, to open the gates. Let the blessings and praise flow freely between our worlds, and let us know our Gods, and they us.
We give you this offering of sacred herbs, whose smoke will carry our words and gifts across the rainbow bridge. (Light herb bundle and let it smoke as long as it will)
(Place hands out to “activate” the hallows and draw the portal in the air. Imagine a doorway opening over Yygdrasil, shining more brightly with each word) Let our voices be made heard throughout the nine worlds, riding the roots and branches of Yggdrasil: worlds of darkness, worlds of light, worlds of fire and of ice, worlds of beauty and worlds most bleak- through all the worlds do we proclaim: Let the Gates be open!
In this space, we are never alone. Let us now make our offerings to the kindred whose company we seek.
Calling the Kindreds
“We make our offering to the Kindreds of the Worlds
To those who dwell below and those who dwell above
To the tribes of Spirits
In the nine realms
Hear your true worshippers as we make due sacrifice.”
“Spirits of the Land, keepers of place
Weather-wise, your knowledge runs deep
Landvaettir great, Ancient as Earth
Land wights old, Guardians of garth
Spirits of leaf, and thorn and stone
Creatures of feather and fur and skin
Come to our shrine, share in our company.”
Lift up offering of birdseed:
“This is a gift for a gift
For the beauty and peace that we witness at midwinter
For the creature comforts that we share with you.
We give you this offering in thanks.”
(Place bird seed in the offering bowl)
(an empty horn/vessel is held up)
“Ancestors old, keepers of wisdom
Life-wise, your knowledge is hidden
Grandmothers and fathers, beloved dead
Alfar, Disir, Heroes, and guardians,
Warding Spirits untouched by memory
Ancestors of blood, of heart and of land
Come to our shrine, share in our company.”
Lift up glass/cup of drink:
“This is the cup of remembrance,
An offering to our Ancestors.
Let it be known we do not forget you,
We celebrate the life that you have given us
And learn from your wisdom.”
Pour offering into bowl
“Aesir, Vanir, Shining Ones all
From you do all things come,
The beauty of Midgard, the bounty of all.
Of sense and being you have given us well,
Taught us of runes, of faith and troth,
Of right-mindfullness, and honour true,
O Shining Ones of magic and might, we call you forth
To bless this feast and the people here gathered!”
Feast food is lifted up:
“Join us at our feast table, warm yourselves at our hearth,
Let us honour you with hospitality, fit for the Gods.
Hail to the Aesir!
Hail to the Vanir!
Hail to the Gods!”
Main Offering/Call to Odin
Vegtam the wanderer, one of many names, the seeker of knowledge, the seer of truth, be welcome this night. You have lived as king and peasant, God and Father of All and died more than once to gain what you have. We are blessed by your presence and the chance you give us, for blessed is the host and the giver of comfort.
Blessed Alfather, Shaper of Men, we welcome you this night. You, who – along with your Brothers – gave form and life to the First of Our Ancestors, continue to bless us with wisdom, and we are ever thankful.
Wise Sanngetall, you who stole the Dvergar’s brew from Suttung, you who seek wisdom from the inhabitants of all the Nine Worlds, we honour you this night. Guide us, Great Advisor, as we walk in the ways of the Kindred.
Mighty Ygg, You Who Rode the Tree, You Who sacrificed Self to Self for nine long nights: we honor you this day. You sacrificed all you had in the pursuit of wisdom, and with that sacrifice you won the Mysteries. You Who Rode the Tree, may you impart your wisdom and its blessings upon us, for we make this offering to you. Red wine, as red as the blood you shed in sacrifice for the runes.
Hail to the High One, the Terrible One: Wise Odin!
(Red wine is poured into the offering bowl)
Let our voices arise on the Flame… Let our voices resound in the well… let our voices echo throughout the nine realms: O, Great One of many names, AlFather, accept our worship and reverence. Hear our calls, Oh Shining Ones, and grant us what blessings you may.
A gift calls for a gift. Let us now learn of the gifts the gods see fit to share with us, through the runes hard won by the King of Singers.
(Runes are pulled, but not said).
Everyone fills their cup. Senior druid provides an explanation of the horn of frith. In sharing the horn, and the blessings it contains, we build the connections between us, and make them stronger.
(Each rune (3) pulled is a blessing per round of sumbel, with leader putting the blessing into the horn, telling the congregation the significance of each rune of blessing. Everyone takes a sip of their drink as each participant makes their toast for the three rounds of sumbel- toasts to gods, toasts to ancestors, toast/boast/oath.
(Once Sumbel is completed)
In this time of darkness, in this year of fear and uncertainty, we take comfort from each other, from the kindreds that surround and support us, and from the wisdom of the runes. Hear now the blessing of the rune Gebo:
Meditation on Gebo and Hospitality:
Place your candle before you, so you can see the light through your closed eyelids. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
In your mind’s eye, picture the rune Gebo. This is the rune that is drawn on your candle. The two equal-length sticks crossing each other at the middle. It looks like a person with their legs and arms outstretched.
This is the rune of relationship, of giving and taking. You see that the arms are even and balanced, to show that the most stable of relationships is one where there is give and take in equal measure.
The crossing of these lines is where you and the other meet together. It could represent your relationship with your partner, with your children or parents, or with your ancestors or gods. There is you, and there is the other, and together, you create balance in giving and receiving. If either neglects that balance, gives or receives too much or too little, then the rune itself becomes unstable and tips over on its shorter point.
See the rune glowing brightly in the darkness before you. Watch as the arms and legs of the rune begin to stretch out into the night. The others around you are doing the same, and you see their own lines crossing yours, until before you, you see a whole host of Gebo runes, like stars, with lines drawn between them, making a glowing web.
This is a web of interconnectedness. It shows you how you are connected to each other. These are all your relations. This web is strong, and is a source of strength that you can draw from. This web is vibrant, and shines more brightly every time you give of yourself, and every time you graciously receive from others too. This web is alive, and you tend to its balance when you make your offerings and receive your blessings to and from the kindreds.
This web is dependent too, just as you are all dependent on each other. When one line suffers, the whole of the web feels an effect. This year, more than any other, has shown us this. In these difficult times, when the edge between certainty and doubt, between comfort and fear, between life and death is so thin, that effect can be dire. We need to maintain the web of Gebo, because we need it to survive. We need each other, we need the bonds of community to keep us safe.
This is why hospitality was so important for our ancestors. In giving and receiving, that web of safety was built. It’s how societies were built, and how we ensured our survival. It is also why the virtue is so important to us. In keeping to the virtue of Gebo, we bring to our actions the knowledge of that interconnectedness, the wisdom of the web, which shows itself in kindness and generosity, as well as in humility and gratitude. Through our acts of hospitality, we become the balance keepers, the tenders of the web of community.
In these days of the pandemic, we show our hospitality by wearing our masks, refraining from leaving our houses, connecting with our loved ones virtually instead. When we see others suffering, we give them what comfort we can. We try to keep the wolves of misinformation at bay. We defend the weakest among us. We take care of each other. That is how we will survive.
Open your eyes now, but keep in your heart the wisdom of Gebo.
The night is dark and long, but we are blessed! We sit together in comfort and joy, filled to the brim with the blessings of the Gods, of our ancestors and the spirits of the land. Though this rite is ending, we will leave this place wiser, with the web of Gebo to guide our actions toward kindness and gratitude.
(people refill their glasses)
Let’s raise our glasses in thanks!
We give thanks and hail to the Gods for the bounty of our lives.
We give thanks and hail to the All-Father, for his teachings.
We give thanks and hail to the Ancestors, Alfar and Disir.
We give thanks and hail to Land wights for their protection.
We give thanks and hail to Heimdall, the gatekeeper, for his protection and guidance on this night.
We give thanks to the Sky Father, for the shelter of his shield.
We give thanks and hail to the Earth Mother, our foundation and strength.
Closing the Gates and Ending the Rite
“Now by the keeper of the Gates and by our magic, we end what we began.
Let the fire be flame,
Let the well be water,
Let all be as it was before.
Let the Gates be closed!”
“This grove was founded in January 2007, at which time a commitment was made: to celebrate together every high day, and other occasions, to worship the land and the spirits that reside here, the ancestors and our Gods. Today, as on every feast day, we now restate our oath. We have done as our ancestors have done, and as our children will do, and the Kindred have answered. Let us go now as children of the Sun. Peace be on us and blessings too.
This rite is ended. So be it!