Happy Sol’s Day!
We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods, goddesses, or whatever powers that be (if any) either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.
We also don’t take an offering here. We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it. Let’s be honest, offerings are not given to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it. Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never sees a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.
Theme Song: MANEGARM – ‘Blot’
An absolutely beautiful song. English translation below.
If you want more details about Asatru, I can’t recommend this book enough.
Probably the two most common things that I understand quite well because religions all have them are 1) Festivals and 2) Services. In Asatru, the words are Blót and Sumble but the concept is the same.
Blóts are festivals that involve sacrifice. There are lots of these that either focuses on a particular deity or centered around a holiday. Blóts vary in style and elements depending on the worshipers much like any religion but there are a few common elements to all of them. 1) Preparation, 2) Focusing, 3) Invocation, 4) Offering, 5) Blessing, 6) Sharing, 7) Completion. These elements are commonalities and I have seen them in pretty much any type of religion when it comes to the celebration fo holidays.
A sumble is more of a regular meeting for the purposes of meeting together as a group of worshipers. It is far less formal than a Blót although it can be part of a Blót. Basically put, the master or mistress of ceremonies fills the horn with ale or mead and then announces the focus of that round of the sumble and then either gives the horn to the one taking the role of the Valkerie or just to the next person. The person drinks and then gives it to the next person or speaks with the focus of that round in mind. This is the time for toasts, boasts, and oaths. One tradition has the first round being the focus of praise to the gods, the second round is to remember the honored dead and the third to give oaths as an example.
Oaths are a special case because the sumble has certain responsibilities to the oath-taker. Most notably to challenge the oath if they think it too large or difficult. The group is responsible to make sure oaths are reasonable. They are also responsible to praise fulfilled oaths and penalize or fine oaths that fail.
I have to say that there are two things that happened this week that are of note in regard to Asatru and religion in general. In my group of former ministers turned atheist/agnostic, we spoke this week on social values of religion and how it can hold families, cultures, and societies together. part of that was the mention of holidays and services. People need some symbols and practices to note their tribe and culture and religion often fills that role. The substitute for me is Norse paganism.
The second thing that happened was during work. Thanksgiving I had to work and it is Black ‘Friday’s start so I was there helping with setting up and on the second half of the day checking receipts as people left the store. During that whole time, I was wearing my Wolf Hammer (above) as it was Thor’s Day. I received about five comments on how cool it was and two of those specifically mentioned how they appreciated other religions being represented at this time of year, one mentioning Yuletide. One guy even showed me his hammer tattoed to the top part of his chest. I never met any of these people before in my life, but the connection was there.
This illustrates the power that blóts ad sumbles undoubtedly have to build community and connection. Something that has been missing from my life. Something I probably need to recover. I really don’t connect with Christians that well anymore.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.