WEEKLY GROUP RITUAL

A new weekly ritual will be posted here each week, which we will use in our Sunday meetings. For more information on these meetings, see the Get Involved page.

Preparation:
It is recommended that you have two bowls: one with pure water, another empty. You will also need a glass with your offering to the Gods. Typical offerings are wine, milk, or water, but the offering can be specific to the deity you are addressing. It is also appropriate to have a candle and incense.

Wash your hands in the bowl of water to purify yourself before the gods.

————

The ringing of a bell begins the meeting. Then follows music and a stanza from Hávamál.

***

25. An unwise man
thinks anyone who laughs with him
is his friend,
but he won’t find these friends
when he goes to court—
no one will speak on his behalf.

***

First, we worship our Gods,
pay reverence to the noble Heroes,
and greet the spirits of the Dead,
who dwell in otherworldly realms.
So let us offer this libation,
for the honour of their power
and communion with their souls.

ᛜᛜᛜ

Today’s libation text is Alcaeus’ Hymn to the Dioscuroi.

Come here to me, departing Pelops’ isle,
mighty children of Zeus and Leda,
with kindly soul be manifest, Kastor
and Pollux;

who through broad land and all
the sea journey on swift-footed horses
and easily protect men from chilling
death,

leaping on top of well-benched ships,
splendid from afar, running up the forestays
and in the grievous night bringing light
to the black ship.

ᛜᛜᛜ

As you give to us, so we give back to you!

Pour some of your offering into the empty bowl.

Neither earth nor heaven were,
when chaos ruled the empty space.
But from the two that shape and form –
from light and darkness, sky and soil –
the world was forged and ordered.
So shall we be brought to order,
As we partake of this drink.

The remainder of the drink is consumed.

A bell is rung to initiate the reading.

Today’s reading is the second half of Skírnismál, the Edda poem about Skirnir’s ride to Gerth (Gerðr). Skirnir is a servant of Freyr and undertakes the journey for him to win Gerth as Frey’s bride.

For newcomers:
Each person who chooses to read will read one paragraph from asterisk to asterisk. One person will read at a time. We will read in alphabetical order and repeat this order as many times as needed till the reading is complete.

***

Gerth said:
22 “I would never accept
that ring, even if Odin did place it
on his young son’s funeral pyre.
I have no lack of gold
in the home of Gymir,
to share with my father.”

Skirnir said:
23 “Do you see this sword, girl,
this slender, pretty sword,
which I have in my hand here?
I will cut off your head
from your neck
unless you go along with me.”

Gerth said:
24 “I will never
endure the threats
of any man.
And I think
if Gymir finds you
here, you brave men
will come to blows.”

*

Skirnir said:
25 “Do you see this sword, girl,
this slender, pretty sword,
which I have in my hand here?
Your old father will bend his knees
beneath this blade;
I’ll be the death of your father.

26 “I will beat you with a club
till I tame you, girl,
till you go along with my wishes.
Then you’ll go to a place
where no one will ever
see you again.

27 “You will sit forever
on an eagle’s nest,
turned away from the world,
looking in at Hel.
Food will seem as awful to you
as the Midgard-serpent
seems to men.

28 “You will be laughed at
when you emerge;
a giant man will look at you.
They’ll all stare at you.
You’ll be better-known
than Heimdall himself,
staring out behind your gate.

29 “Foolishness and screaming!
And pain, unendurable pain!
May your tears grow with your sorrow!
Sit down, and I
will tell you some sad news,
I’ll double your grief:

*

30 “Monsters will bend you over
for the whole unhappy day
in Jotunheim.
You’ll crawl every day,
without choice,
without hope,
to a hall of frost-trolls.
You’ll weep
and never be happy,
your sorrows will make you cry.

31 “You’ll have a three-headed giant
for your husband,
or go without a husband.
You’ll go crazy
and rot with illness.
You’ll be like a fat thistle
ripped halfway off its stalk
and left to dry.

32 “I went to a forest,
to get a young tree branch,
to find a magic wand there;
I found a magic wand there.

33 “Odin will rage at you,
Thor will rage at you,
Frey will hate you,
you evil girl!
You have earned
the hatred of the gods.

34 “Hear me, giants!
Hear me, frost-trolls!
Hear me, fire-trolls,
hear me, gods!
I curse this girl,
I curse her
never to know a man’s love,
never to have a husband!

35 “Hrimgrimnir’s the name of the troll
who will take you
down below the gates of Hel.
There, below the tree roots,
servants will bring you
goats’ urine to drink.
You’ll never get
anything better to drink,
not if you want it, girl.
Not even if I want it, girl.

*

36 “I curse you with that troll,
and three other curses—
sexual shame, and madness,
and unbearable suffering.
I’ve cursed you already,
but I’ll call off the curses,
if you give me good reason.”

Gerth said:
37 “Be welcome here, instead,
and take this drinking-horn
full of good ancient mead.
Even if I previously said
that I would never
marry that god of the Vanir.”

Skirnir said:
38 “I want to know
my errand’s complete
before I ride away.
Tell me when you’ll meet
the noble son of Njorth—
when will you come to comfort Frey?”
Gerth said:
39 “There’s a grove named Barri—
we both know it—
a peaceful place in the forest.
After nine nights
Frey, son of Njorth,
will enjoy my love there.”

Then Skirnir rode home. Frey stood waiting for him and asked
for the news:
40 “Tell me, Skirnir,
before you unsaddle that horse,
before you take one more step:
What did you accomplish
in Jotunheim
for your or my purposes?”

Skirnir said:
41 “There’s a grove named Barri—
we both know it—
a peaceful place in the forest.
After nine nights
Frey, son of Njorth,
will enjoy Gerth’s love there.”

Frey said:
42 “One night would be long enough,
two would be worse—
how can I contain my lust for three?
A month has often
seemed shorter to me
than half such a marriage-night.”

***

This completes our reading. We will pause a moment for silent contemplation.

As we conclude our meeting –
in the honour of our Gods,
of our Ancestors, and the World,
which is an image of the Gods –
let us remember how to live
with justice, wisdom, temperance,
with holy thoughts and valiant deeds.

A bell is rung to signal the end of the meeting.

The offering can be left in the bowl for some time. Later, it can be poured outside into the earth.

————

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